Have you ever wondered what really goes on in the background on your Computer while visiting your favorite website? Ever think about what that cool new toolbar is doing when your not using it? (hint, it's not sitting their minding it's own business).
You will be surprise to find out how many connections are made to and from your Computer, when browsing around the Internet. In fact, programs on your Computer may be silently making outbound connections with out your knowledge.
Instead of wondering, you can view and monitor these connections with a free utility from nirsoft.net called CurrPorts.
Just download Currports, unzip it and double click on cports.exe. No installation is required.
What you will see, are all the network connection to and from your Computer. When possible, remote connections IP addresses will be resolved to it's hostname, making identification quick and simple.
Scroll to the right and Currports displays more information about the process that opened the connection such as full path of the process, version information (product name, file description, and so on), the time that the process was created, and the user that created it.
The best feature of CurrPorts is the capability to let it log to a file while it's minimized in the System tray. Just click on File \ Log Changes:
Then click on Options \ Put Icon On Tray.
And press Alt+0 to auto refresh every 10 seconds (you can also change this from Options \ Auto Refresh). The log file will be created in the same folder where Curports was started (do not go too long with out check the log since it can grow fast depending on the activity).
At this point you can close CurrPorts. To open, click on it's icon in the System Tray
CurrPorts is loaded with right click functionality. When right clicked on a process, you can view the process properties, close the TCP connection, or even kill the originating process, in addition to adding and removing columns that are displayed.
Filters can also be set by hitting F9. Examples of filter settings are displayed in the filter dialog box.
Any suspicious connections owned by unidentified applications (no version information and icons) will be mark in pink. These connections should be checked immediately for possible spyware or virus activity.
CurrPorts runs on Windows XP, Vista, 2000, 2003 and is one utility you won't mind running in the background ; -)