Security tools come and go but some stand out as perennial favorites. Our security expert Jeff Fellinge tested various free security tools monthly for Windows IT Pro and we’ve updated the top 5 picks from his Toolbox column—they’re still going strong, being updated, and being downloaded. And, unfortunately, still necessary.
1. Little Snitch
Little Snitch lets you know when a program is trying to establish an outgoing Internet connection. It’s up to you whether you choose to allow or deny the connection, and you can define a rule to handle similar, future attempts.
pfSense is a free, flexible, firewall and routing platform. A customized, open-source distribution of Free BSD, it’s not only used as a firewall and router but includes additional features plus a packaging system that allows expandability without bloating your system.
KeePass lets you put all your passwords in one secure database, so that if you suffer from password forgetfulness, you only have to remember one single master password. The database is encrypted using the AES and Twofish algorithms, which is not too bad for a free open-source password manager.
TrueCrypt lets you encrypt a partition or storage device such as a USB flash drive automatically, in real time, transparently. This free open-source disk encryption software works for Windows 7, Windows Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux.
Nmap (aka Network Mapper) is possibly the only free and open-source utility for network exploration and security auditing that’s actually been featured in over half a dozen movies, including The Matrix Reloaded and The Bourne Ultimatum. With it, you can determine what hosts are available on the network, what services (application name and version) those hosts are offering, what OSs (and OS versions) they are running, what type of packet filters/firewalls are in use, and dozens of other characteristics. Nmap runs Windows, from NT to Windows 7, including Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003.