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Monday's Mac Gadget
by John F. Braun

Who's Trying to Break Into Your Mac? "Who's There?" Will Tell You!
December 11th, 2000

Who's There? Firewall Advisor 1.0b4 (Public Beta)
Open Door Networks, Inc.

Several months ago, we took a peek at DoorStop Personal Edition, a personal firewall. This is a must-have utility for those who have full-time connections, such as cable or xDSL. When Open Door recently announced a companion product, Who's There?, we decided to give it a detailed look to see what additional benefits it offers.

Who's There? does its thing by processing the log file from either a DoorStop firewall product, or Norton Personal Firewall, so first make sure that you have logging enabled. Although the log contains the raw data needed to analyze unauthorized access attempts, Who's There? makes sense of this information. This is evident when you first start the program. It will read your log, then show an Access History Window.

Access History Detail Window
(click for a larger view)

Just like DoorStop, Who's There? will show the attempt, and where it came from, but this is where the similarity ends. It also shows the relative risk of the attempt. Plus, if you double-click on a portion of the entry, more detailed information will be shown, depending on where you clicked. For example, if you double-click on the area describing the service, a window with more detail about the service will be shown. It may link to the RFC describing the protocol in detail. If you double-click on the address or host name, a lookup on the address will be done, telling you where the address is, and who owns it.

For determined attackers, Who's There? will help craft an e-mail, and even address it if the owner of the domain is available via a WHOIS lookup. The e-mail will describe the details of the attack, and when it took place. This information is of great value to those who will eventually have to deal with the problem.

To get a better idea of what types of Internet access your Mac is making, you can choose to view the data in different ways. You can sort by service, to get an idea of all the services that your Mac is using, or that those from the outside are trying to access. You can also sort by hostname and IP address, to see all of the machines you have been accessing, or that have been trying to access you.

So make sure that you know what your Mac is accessing, and more importantly, who is trying to access your Mac, with Who's There? Firewall Advisor.

Have any other Mac Gadgets that you'd want to have if you got lost in the woods? Let John know via e-mail, so he can review it, or share it with the rest of us in the Mac Gadget Forum.

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Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.

John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at

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