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Tests of Looknstop Firewall

oTests oOverviewoPrice oResultsoAdvantagesoDisadvantages oImprovementsoSummaryoReferenceso

A - Security effectiveness Tests

Key criteria in choosing a personnal firewall are :

  • Effectiveness of security protection : penetration, Trojans, controlling leaks, denial of service.

  • Effectiveness of intrusion detection: few false positives, alerting of dangerous attacks.

  • User interface: ease of use, instructiveness, simplicity, quality of online help. Does the interface suit the way you use your PC ?

  • Price.

How did we test firewall/intrusion detection effectiveness?

  1. Ping and accessing shares to and from the test host.

  2. A powerful, well known "remote control" Trojan (Netbus Pro v2.1 [2]) was installed on the system on a nonstandard port (to make detection more difficult), the Netbus server started and attempts made to connect from a remote system.

  3. An nmap [1] scan was run, to check that incoming ports were effectively blocked. With another local PC launching nmaps againts the test PC and the following options (nmap -v -sT -P0 -O IP_ADDR).

  4. An nmap [1] scan was run, to check that incoming ports were effectively blocked. With another local PC launching nmaps againts the test PC and the following options (nmap -v -sP -P0 -O IP_ADDR).

  5. A test using Leaktest [4] was done.

  6. We checked the system ressource usage of the firewall during the tests (just in case).

  7. We tried to launch a modified (by us) release of IEXPLORE.EXE (C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE ) to check if the firewall detects the problem.

NB : These tests do not pretend to be exhaustives. By the way the aim is to be sure that the tested software offers at least expected security (or not) for a personnal use (do not compare this to professional use).

Jump to the test results.

B - Overview

The Looknstop firewall [3] is full of interesting features :

  • Control access to networking resources? complete access control according to IP address, service, device and direction. For example, you can allow inbound FTP connections from Ethernet device 1 for only some chosen IP addresses (using masks definition or others).

  • Filters all services - filters file and printer shares, protocols that use Winsock (e.g. SMTP, HTTP), operating system services (e.g. ping, rip, FTP, Telnet).

  • You don't have to install required special-purpose plug-ins or add-ons to enable applications or services to pass through this firewall.

  • Constant monitoring - works quietly in the background while you use your system, constantly monitoring all traffic in or out of your PC.

  • Rulesets can be exported or transferred between systems with virtually no changes, making universal "corporate" rulesets feasible.

  • Complete logging services - Log files record all network activity to help you track down important events.

  • Low level rules - MAC address (physical layer) rules can be defined and applied, really usefull for some LAN operations.

C - Prices

Free !!!

D - Security Effectiveness
  1. Ping : blocked, the result of this test is good.

  2. The Netbus Test : Looknstop 1.x does not detect the netbus launch, but connexions attempts from outside to the Netbus server won't be allowed. THe result of this test is good.

  3. An nmap scan without Looknstop 1.x (on Win 2000 OS SP1 with a "standard" installation, it means NetBios active and so on) :

    $ nmap -v -sT -P0 -O IP_ADDR

    Starting nmap V. 2.53 by [email protected] ( )
    Initiating TCP connect() scan against (IP_ADDR)
    Adding TCP port 445 (state open).
    Adding TCP port 135 (state open).
    Adding TCP port 1025 (state open).
    Adding TCP port 913 (state open).
    Adding TCP port 139 (state open).

    The TCP connect scan took 0 seconds to scan 1523 ports.

    For OSScan assuming that port 135 is open and port 1 is closed and neither are firewalled

    Interesting ports on (IP_ADDR):
    (The 1518 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: closed)
    Port State Service
    135/tcp open loc-srv
    139/tcp open netbios-ssn
    445/tcp open microsoft-ds
    913/tcp open unknown
    1025/tcp open listen

    TCP Sequence Prediction: Class=random positive increments
    Difficulty=6634 (Worthy challenge)

    Sequence numbers: 747E9CE8 747F63FC 74800BF5 7480E3FE 7481BC4F 7482B3B2

    Remote operating system guess: Windows 2000 RC1 through final release

    Nmap run completed -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 10 seconds

    Gloups : you'd better
    have a firewall installed :+) !!!

    An nmap TCP scan with Looknstop 1.x (on Win 2000 OS with a "standard" installation, it means NetBios active and so on) and the standard ruleset provided give thousands of logged events and Nmap itself reports no open TCP ports, 1146 filtered ports and cannot guess the operating system version. No mention is made in the logs of a scan or nmap. This is an excellent security :

    $ nmap -sT -O -P0 -v IP_ADDR

    Starting nmap V. 2.53 by [email protected] ( )
    Initiating TCP connect() scan against (IP_ADDR)
    Adding TCP port 1025 (state open). (*)
    Skipping host (IP_ADDR) due to host timeout

    Nmap run completed -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 75 seconds

    Here is the result log :

    17/02/01 23:05:28 D 79 'TCP : Bloque tous les au' IP_ADDR_ORIGIN TCP Ports Dest:nntp=119 Src:2780
    17/02/01 23:05:28 D 80 'TCP : Bloque tous les au' IP_ADDR_ORIGIN TCP Ports Dest:tnETOS=377 Src:2781
    17/02/01 23:05:28 D 81 'TCP : Bloque tous les au' IP_ADDR_ORIGIN TCP Ports Dest:687 Src:2782
    17/02/01 23:05:28 D 82 'TCP : Bloque tous les au' IP_ADDR_ORIGIN TCP Ports Dest:5713 Src:2783

    Therefore, tight effective security is possible with Looknstop, if configured correctly.

    (*) The rule n° 4 ("Allow other standard internet services") may be a little bit more "restrictive"..

  4. An nmap UDP scan with Looknstop 1.x (on Win 2000 SP1 OS with a "standard" installation, it means NetBios active and so on) gives :

  5. The Leaktest : Loonstop does not detect the software start (like Netbus), the connection attempt looking like a ftp connection is not filtered.If you use the provided ruleset , Leaktest will be blocked. It shows that you can easily move around the Leaktest with no pain !!!! The result of this test is bad.
    I am sure that software authors will correct this problem quickly : -)

  6. Looknstop in normal operations uses up to % max. Memory usage is MB, up to MB peek.
  7. The substitution test : (you can do it by yourself for example : you replace Iexplorer.exe with leaktest.exe - yes this one - by renaming the last one and launch it). The result is that Looknstop cannot detect application launch not either the substitution, so it connects easily... the result of this test is bad.

E - Advantages 
  1. Rules can be applied to specific dialup connections or linked to modem.

  2. Logging window is useful. It gives a complete packet analysis including its content header, the rules that blocked it, so it's maybe the best result you could have with personnal firewall softwares. The options tab allows you to set log content.

  3. The ruleset can be saved, loaded and exported !!!

  4. The size: 368 KB to download !!

  5. The GUI, website and help are provided in english and is really good !!!!!!!!!!

  6. Internationalized product (exist also in French).

  7. It's Free !

F - Disadvantages
  1. The log content is really poor compared to the log window... really bad for a backward analysis.

  2. Blocks only the IP protocol.

  3. The rules can only be applied on one network attachment on Windows 2000 (I think it's a little bit weird but not really dangerous).

  4. The intrusion detection could be upgraded with :

    • a security analysis could be provided, a comment could be written in the log line (comment saved with the rejecting rule for example),

    • the port scans are not detected and analysed as so, only an individual port report is done (long and heavy but anyway it's complete),

    • no source tracking is proposed (is this really usefull ?),

G - Suggested improvements
  • Provide a rule learning window.

  • Allow the user to change the column order in the rule window.

  • Create a list of sample rules that the user can add/remove. Rules that are easy for users to understand, like: "Allow computer to be visible in Network Neighborhood," "Allow other hosts to detect your presence (ping)," "Allow Filesharing," "Allow accessing of remote Fileshares," etc.
    Note: sample rulesets are available from the website !

  • Detect and associate network applications and services with a rule , with a crc checking and port protocol association.

  • Optionnal password protection.

H - Summary 

A powerful, flexible firewall that expert users and beginners may very well appreciate.

Nearly perfect, it have what Conseal don't really more efficient than Conseal !!!! And it's price is really nice ! One of our prefered !!!


Evaluation :

  • Installation process (2) : 18/20

  • Configuration , GUI (3) : 15/20

  • Filtering security (5) : 19/20

  • Additionnal security (3) : 0/20

  • Software load and memory usage (2) : 15/20

  • Import/Export configuration (2) : 15/20

  • Help , FAQ (2) : 10/20

  • Product internationalization (1) : 15/20

Total : 13.3 / 20

Note : the result may be modified with the release , and when adding new criteria or re-evaluating their weight or their content.

I - References
  1. Nmap - Network mapper, a really efficient tool to check networks

  2. Netbus Pro - Remote control program often used as an attack tool to control remote PCs.

  3. Looknstop

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