Monitor Hidden Website and Internet Connections

9 Jun 2012 6 comments

Aside from the current website that you are visiting, which at the moment is Online-Tech-Tips, your computer also connects to inbound and outbound sources and websites that are for the most part running in the background. While the majority of these website communications are harmless, some can be gateways for viruses and malware. Even so, it’s sometimes interesting to monitor the background services that your computer uses.

The websites and other internet connections that your computer makes are of course to webpages that you have opened in your web browser. However, the many programs and applications that you have installed on your computer, and even some technologies built-in to the actual operating system, also connect to external websites and internet based services. Here are a few ways to monitor and detect these internet ports.

Using Windows Operating System

Since Windows XP, the Windows operating system has supported a monitoring function that is accessible via an elevated command prompt.

netstat -abf 5 > activity.txt

  • -a show all connections
  • -b application connections
  • -c DNS name and details

Ctrl + C stops recording

Detailed instructions: Click the Start menu and type cmd into the search box. Right-click on the cmd search result and select Run as administrator from the context menu.

Type the characters netstat –abf 5 > activity.txt and hit the enter key. Wait a few minutes for Windows to record some of the processes.

Type Ctrl + C on your keyboard to stop recording. The command window cannot open the records directly, but it can export them.

Type activity.txt and hit the enter button. Notepad will now open with the recorded internet connections.
Using an App

Jump to the Nirsoft CurrPorts homepage and download the the CurrPorts app.

Double click to launch the cports.exe file. From there, the CurrPorts app will instantly monitor and display hidden port and internet connections running in the background.

Nirsoft is the developer of the Wi-Fi Network monitor software, also. Jump to our tutorial to learn how to monitor connections to your Wi-Fi network (wireless router).

The Nirsoft CurrPorts app lists detailed information regarding port usage and background internet connections of a computer.

Using Mac OS X

If you’re a Mac user, you can view detailed internet port connection info using the Network Utility.
From the Mac OS X home screen, navigate the path Finder > Applications > Utilities > Network Utility. With Network Utility open and active on screen, click the Netstat tab to make it active.

Select a display option and click the Netstat button.

Blocking and Stopping Hidden Internet Connections and Ports

In some cases, you can kill or block some of these hidden processes that we described above. For this, you will need a fairly decent Firewall application. Both Windows and Mac have built-in firewall software, but you may want to check out the following for more simplicity and easier setup:

  • Little Snitch (Mac)
  • Comodo (Windows)

That’s basically all there is to it. Most of the time, these processes and ports that are running in the background are non harmful and simply used to keep every computer that is connected to the internet operating correctly with the many services that require internet in order to function.

However, you can also use the above tutorial to check for unknown processes like viruses and malware who often use ports and incoming and outbound internet connections also. We’ve also listed some utilities for Mac and Windows that can help you to kill or block these internet processes. Thank you for stopping by the site for today’s post.

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