Pure Networks Security Scan
Update: The Pure Networks website and as such the scan option that it offered is no longer available. You can try a free scanner such as Nmap as an alternative.
Is your computer network secure? That is the question that the online tool Pure Networks Security Scan by Linksys tries to answer. It runs a series of tests that determine how well a computer network is protected.
The security test is limited to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and used to advertise the networking software Network Magic. The latter devalues some of the test results but more about that later.
The test will be performed in Internet Explorer after accepting to install an Active X control in the web browser on first run. The reliance on ActiveX is the reason why it only works in Microsoft's Internet Explorer and not in other browsers.
The network security scan tests connected network devices, the computer the test is run on, routers & the network, wireless security, and Internet threats.
Not all of the tests can be performed on all routers and networks, and the online application will list those that could not be tested in the scan results.
An overall security score is displayed after the test that indicates whether the security of the network is poor, fair or good.
These results again have to be taken with a grain of salt, as some results were interpreted incorrectly at least on our network environment.
The network security scan did not recognize the security software installed on the computer system the online app was run on for instance which resulted in a lower score.
It also reported the hosts file had been modified even though it was the default host file of the operating system (Windows 7 Professional).
It is easy enough to spot those issues, but the service offers no option to correct them (for instance by stating that security software is installed, or that the hosts file is clean).
Pure Networks Security Scan is still an interesting online service regardless of the improper analysis of some of the scan results. It can hint at problems that exist in a computer network that need to be addressed by a system admin, network admin or home user.
Windows users who want to try the test can point their Internet Explorer browser to the Pure Networks Security Scan page at Linksys.
Now Read: MiTeC Network Scanner review
These results have to be taken (not with a grain but) with a pound of salt.
IMHO…this test is crap. More specifically, (I have a very simple home network composed of a DSL modem, WRT400N Linksys wireless router set as DHCP server, and a year old Dell laptop with Windows 7 Ultimate) the scan reported that:
– Linksys router firmware was possibly out of date; which it is not, in fact there is only one firmware version for this router.
– No antivirus software installed when in fact I have one of the best scoring antivirus apps running at all times.
– Windows Update is not set to auto update when in fact it is and is up-to-date.
– My router does not support the External Threat Scan. It seems silly that this is not supported on a fairly new router from Linksys.
This scan tools appears to be more of a marketing endeavor than a useful security assessment tool. Cisco should really put some more effort into this product because if it did provide accurate results it would be a good way to attract and build trust with a variety of people inclusive up to those who are tech savvy but not experts or pros, much like. In its current form this tool will do the opposite, hence my assessment that it is…sadly…crap.
Steve Gibson has a great online security scanner utility called shields up.
Its very thorough and has great explanations of what its doing.
I also trust GRC.
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