Windows security toolbox: Our experts' favorite freeware

Each of our Windows security experts shares his top five freeware tools.

We asked our SearchWindowsSecurity.com experts to tell us their top five freeware tools for Windows security. The following is a list of what they say is the best freeware on the Web.


What is your favorite Windows security freeware? We want to hear from you -- e-mail the editor your top picks.

Kevin Beaver's Top Five Favorite Downloads

Active Directory Cookbook

      1. SoftPerfect Network Scanner: Port and NetBIOS scanning
      1. LanSpy: In-depth enumeration of Windows systems
      1. Cain & Abel: Password cracking and other tests
      1. SiteDigger 2.0: Finding vulnerabilities with Google
      1. Process Explorer: Controlling Windows apps, spyware and more

Kevin Beaver is our Windows security threats expert. Click for his bio or view Kevin's responses to your questions.

Jason Chan's Top Five Favorite Downloads

Active Directory Cookbook

      1. Nessus: Open source vulnerability assessment
      1. Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA): Patch and vulnerability assessment
      1. Windows Server Update Services (WSUS): Patch and update management
      1. emerge: A mechanism, not a standalone download, included with various Linux distributions that keeps Linux systems up to date
      1. Sun Patch Manager: Patch management, recommended by Sun

Jason Chan is our Windows patch management expert. Click for his bio or view Jason's responses to your questions.

Jonathan Hassell's Top Five Favorite Downloads

Active Directory Cookbook

      1. Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA): Thorough manual scans to pinpoint problems
      1. Windows Server Update Services (WSUS): Patch and update management
      1. Process Explorer: Explores mysterious processes, etc.
      1. Ad-Aware: Kills spyware dead
      1. Windows XP SP2: Firewall/patching features

Jonathan Hassell is our Windows hardening expert. Click for his bio or view Jon's responses to your questions.

Wes Noonan's Top Five Favorite Downloads

Active Directory Cookbook

      1. Nmap: Discovers open and running ports
      1. Ethereal: Packet sniffer to identify network problems and communication issues
      1. Any and All of the Foundstone tools: The entire suite of Foundstone free tools covers everything from testing tools to forensics toolkits
      1. Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA): Thorough manual scans to pinpoint problems
      1. NetStumbler: Discovers wireless access points in the area, or unauthorized wireless access points

            Honorable mention:

      • Netcat: To script a network conversation or masquerade as a legitimate host
      • Metasploit: An exploit framework for use in determining if a system is vulnerable -- will run on Cygwin under Windows

Wes Noonan is our Windows network security expert. Click for his bio or view Wes' responses to your questions.


What is your favorite Windows security freeware? We want to hear from you -- e-mail the editor your top picks.
This was first published in July 2005

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