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Old 08-08-2005, 03:18 PM   #1
Mr. New
Registered: Oct 2004
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whats the dangers of leaving a port open?

I'm wondering if there are any dangers in leaving a port open? I have bittorrent running and would like to know if there are any serious security issues with it.
Old 08-08-2005, 04:14 PM   #2
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Anything can potentially exploit your machine. Just think of it this way, your connected and that's all that is needed for some to crack open your machine.. A truly secure machine is one that isn't powered on..
Old 08-09-2005, 04:37 PM   #3
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Open port means there's a program listening on that port. Programs are usually buggy. Bugs can be usually exploited... Results are not good.
Old 08-09-2005, 05:18 PM   #4
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Are there any dangers? Technically, no. Every process on your computer that is supposed to be providing any sort of service to your internal network or to the Internet (by-definition) must "have a port open." The term simply means that a process is listening for connections on that port.

The questions is, do you know...
  • Why a process is running on your computer, and listening to that port?
  • Which process it is?
  • How that process is configured? (Is it set up correctly? Is it vulnerable?)
  • Who it is listening to? (Is it listening to "the whole Internet" or just to your internal network?
  • Whether the incoming traffic is encrypted? Validated as to source?
The typical problem is that many people just drag a public distro "out of the box," configure it according to the defaults (which usually drags in just about everything except the kitchen-sink), attach it to the Internet without a single firewall ... and thus really don't know what in the heck it's doing or why.

"Script kiddies" perform automated searches for computers like this. Among tens of millions of addresses, simple probability says that an exploitable number of systems will be found.

It is almost trivially simple to protect your system, if you actually do it. Many cat-burglars have testified that they never had to break down a door or defeat a burglar alarm: they simply went from door to door, say pretending to be delivering newspapers, and twisted the doorknob to see if the door was unlocked. (If it was, then of course the alarm was off, too.) If so, they simply walked inside, found the lady's dresser, scooped a handful of jewelry into their "newspaper" bag, closed the door and went on to the next house. Exactly the same strategy works well on the Internet!


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