TCP and UDP Under Surveillance

excellent
key review info
application features
  • Mark with pink color suspicious TCP/UDP ports
  • (3 more, see all...)

Have you ever had any idea about the amount of processes communicating outside your network? Sure, there are plenty of Windows services that require outbound communication in order to keep your system updated with the latest releases but there may be other elements, not necessarily benign, that keep sending info on your activities.

Sometimes you may need to take appropriate action against malicious events on your computer and close a series of ports in order to cut off any form of communication outside your system. Failing to do this may lead to grave consequences upon the system and most probably your privacy.

Internet connection monitors come under all forms and shapes, with or without price tags, with or without real functionality. For an average user choosing the best one may be too much of a task although there are plenty solutions on the market, many of them with high functionality and free of charge.

CurrPorts was created by the prolific developer Nir Sofer (tens of software products bear the mark of Nir Sofer on Softpedia, all of them freebies) with the purpose of monitoring the processes opening TCP/IP and UDP ports on your computer. The interface may not look great but the functionality of the software precedes it.

You need no installation as a mere launch of the zipped executable will suffice for starting the program. The moment CurrPorts is launched it'll display all the processes currently performing outbound/inbound connections. By default there is no refresh of the page so the list will not change and the same processes will populate it. Luckily, the application comes with the necessary means for enabling an auto-refresh from Options menu every 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 seconds.

The list of communicating processes is filled with pertinent information about each of them for a better identification, thus you will be able to see the process ID, protocol used, local port, remote address and hostname in some cases, state and path of the process involved in the transmission as well as the name of the product involved, a brief description of the file, version, developing company, user name under which the element is initiated, etc.

To put it briefly, you have access to the largest amount of information about a connected process in order to accurately identify it as malicious or benign. To give you a hand for a faster key out of the processes CurrPorts will mark in pink color all suspicious items (those with no icon and no info on version). You will notice that perfectly valid processes will be pinked but that is only until CurrPorts finds the necessary information.

Besides the mere informational purpose of the application, CurrPorts can also terminate any process in the list or close TCP connections. This way you can have certain control over the processes and the connections they make behind your back.

CurrPorts is equipped with more functionality than this as it can also create detailed reports from the current list of recorded processes. The format for saving the report is HTML making it extremely easy for you to view at a glance all the items in the list, save it to a location on your computer or send it to the printer.

In some cases the list is way too large and you have trouble finding a certain process; CurrPorts makes available several options for solving this problem. Search function is one of the simplest ways to pinpoint the desired item. It comes with basic functionality but does a great job. The second alternative permits filtering the items according to more elaborate properties. Employing Advanced Filters function (F9), users can type in filtering strings of text aiming at sorting out processes sharing the same properties (TCP port, using both TCP and UDP ports), including or excluding processes.

Also, Options menu offers a wide range of process selecting alternatives in order to view only items having the same properties.

The application does a great job at displaying all the items requiring Internet connection and selection options to show only relevant processes are abundant and efficient. It makes for a good monitor although the software can be improved by extending its functionality to being able to block certain connections or permit connectivity to only some of the items.

You can enable automatic refresh of the list as well as brush up the list manually (F5 key). The amount of information on listed processes is impressive, as well as its accuracy.

The Good

CurrPorts makes for a very fine connection monitor and allows the user an easy selection in listing the processes. Also, you can close all TCP ports and terminate the processes with a single click of the mouse.

The range of process selecting alternatives is designed to suit both the less experienced as well as the power user, allowing filtering of the connected applications in more than one way.

The Bad

The looks are in deep contrast with CurrPorts' functionality. This is of little importance but worth mentioning, nevertheless.

IPNetInfo integration in CurrPorts works only if both applications are opened. I wish IPNetInfo would start when accessed from CurrPorts, but hey, you can't have it all.

The Truth

CurrPorts is absolutely free, does a great job in listing processes corresponding remotely and provides a consistent amount of information on listed items. More than this, suspicious items are marked with pink, letting the user decide on the validity.

It needs no installation and works like a charm on both Vista and XP.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:


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user interface 3
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 5


final rating 5
Editor's review
excellent
 
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