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Is it 'dangerous' to leave port 8080 open on my router

Posted on 2004-09-24
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  Is it dangerous to leave port 8080 open on my Linksys router
       My self and an employee work from home on our computers here at my business  on our LAN via pcAnywhere - we both have 'Hosts' installed on our computers but only one of us at a time can access our pc's
     I find I have to go into my routers menu here at the business and leave port 8080 open so I can access the routers menu at home via cable/internet and be able to change the router's port forwarding settings so I can change which pc can be accessed - (it won't let us both access our pc's at the same time)
   pcAnywhere use's ports 5631 and 5632 - Are there any other ports that pcAnywhere can be accessed through - and of course the original question - is it dangerous to leave port 8080 open in order to enable access to the 2 pc's - (of course one at a time)
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Question by:gmd024
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PsiCop earned 125 total points
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Well, its all in what risks you, personally, find acceptable.

8080 is a common alternative HTTP port, so its going to be found on any casual scan of your router. Hopefully, you have some authentication preventing equally casual "adjustment" of your router's configuration. Any thorough scan of your network segment will find any open port, of course, just as it will find the PC Anywhere on ports 5631/5632.

A general principle of security is that you do not leave open any door which you don't HAVE to leave open. Do you HAVE to leave these doors open? Not necessarily.

A much more secure way to do what you want would be to employ a VPN technology to get yourself into your LAN, and then go from there. This is, of course, more difficult to implement than the Rube Goldberg sort of thing you have now. YOU need to decide is the decrease in security worth the simplicity? No one on here can answer that - only you can.

I think its a risky configuration and probably wouldn't do it - there are plenty of PC Anywhere exploits, and you have no real idea of how robust/frail the router's interface is. You're inviting trouble, IMO. However, if you are not willing to trade away the simplicity for more security, or if the assets you are protecting are not sufficiently valuable to justify the extra effort/expense of, say, a VPN solution, then you don't need to change.

The key here is understanding what risks you are taking, and deciding if they are acceptable to you.
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by:gmd024
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   Thanks PsiCop - your answer is kind of what I suspected
               I've been avoiding the VPN solution because of exactly how you described it    
 'complicated'
      I'm pretty 'green' when it comes to my new interest - 'networks/networking
      My Linksys Router (BEFSX41) mentions 'VPN capabilities'
      What I want to 'create a safe tunnel' between is my business and home
    Both are connected to the same cable/ISP provider and both have the same Linksys Router at each end - model # mentioned above
     Can you possibly direct me to an info site that may explain how to do this in 'green mans' terms
    Thanks again - your time and info are greatly apprecaited
     
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by:PsiCop
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I'm sorry, I'm really not familiar at all with the Linksys product line. Well...I've never touched a Linksys, so its worse than "really not familiar".

Sounds like your Linksys does support VPNing. Your goal of creating a "safe tunnel" is definitely the way to go if you want to reduce the chances of someone you don't want in your systems mucking about. Just make sure your Windoze boxes don't get backdoored. Effective security is, often as not, more the art of making things sufficiently inconvenient for the bad guy without making them too inconvienent for legit users.

You might try a new Question in this TA, with a Title of "Linksys VPN configuration" - I can pretty much guarantee the right ppl will see it (might wait for Monday, tho).
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by:gmd024
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  Thanks PsiCop - I'll take your advice 'again' and pose the ? you mentioned - on Monday
        c'ya  (:-)
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