A friend of mine uses Windows XP which runs AVG Antivirus. Although he is a avid Linux user (Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope and all that!), he has to have Windows XP on his machine (cos the missus finds that a lot easier!).

Now, he has a feeling that when he connects to the internet, a lot of other ports are open and worries himself thinking about, someone out there in the bad world, might make his machine a server and put virus, malware, adware, trojans and the like. He also feels that with a system like Linux, he can control that, close the other ports and prevent hacking into his system.

When I ran the command on my machine, the following is the output

netstat -an | find /i "listening"
TCP                LISTENING
TCP                LISTENING
TCP              LISTENING
TCP              LISTENING
TCP              LISTENING
TCP              LISTENING
TCP              LISTENING

Why are these ports listening? Do they have any significance? Will I get affected as my friend says?

What I told my friend is this -

To install Ubuntu as the host system, run Virtual Box and Load Windows XP on that. This way, you can always control things on the host system (I myself am not sure what he means by controlling?!?) and the missus works with Windows.

Second, the far more easiest way is to get a TV and subscribe those channels which the missus wants to watch - a lot more easier option (albeit an expensive one), but saves a lot of other hassles (including posting this in SuperUser).

Anyways, I thought of posting it in SU, because, I would learn something!


You could do a quick scan with the GRC ShieldsUP!.
It will scan your system from the Internet as it would appear to any one else on the Internet.
It will also give you good description on what you should do for ports that are open.

After that, SysInternals TcpView is really a good tool to keep handy.
Its already suggested in another answer here.


Run TCPView. This will give a list of ports that are open with details on who is using what port & is connected to whom. Also if one is too worried about open ports then one can install a good free firewall like Comodo, ZoneAlarm etc.


Use NirSoft's CurrPorts to monitor opened TCP/IP network ports / connections:

CurrPorts is network monitoring software that displays the list of all currently opened TCP/IP and UDP ports on your local computer. For each port in the list, information about the process that opened the port is also displayed, including the process name, full path of the process, version information of the process (product name, file description, and so on), the time that the process was created, and the user that created it. In addition, CurrPorts allows you to close unwanted TCP connections, kill the process that opened the ports, and save the TCP/UDP ports information to HTML file , XML file, or to tab-delimited text file. CurrPorts also automatically mark with pink color suspicious TCP/UDP ports owned by unidentified applications (Applications without version information and icons)

alt text

CurrPorts is freeware and portable, no installation is required.

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