The cheapskate's infosecurity toolbox

As we all know, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a blank check for security-related procurement and implementation. As security executives, we are often called upon to pull a rabbit out of the hat on short notice and make security issues disappear. Making the best of your allocated budget may at times call for primary or supplementary solutions that are freely available. This strategy cuts procurement time completely out of the loop as well. Here's a list of security tools available on the Web for free that you should add to your toolbox.

BartPE: Preinstalled Environment

Troubled by that incessant spyware or virus that just doesn't seem to go away? Need a way to troubleshoot a system without booting the operating system installed on it? BartPE and the right plug-ins will let you do this. www.nu2.nu/pebuilderwww.nu2.nu/pebuilder

Snort: Open Source Intrusion Detection System

Arguably the world's most used Intrusion Detection System. Both Windows and Linux binaries are available. www.snort.org

VMWare Server: A virtual environment

It finally happened: VMWare is available for free. Patch management, QA, vulnerability remediation testing and other daily activities are now available without a significant capital investment. VMWare also offers images of various environments, configurations and operating systems available for download (they're called "appliances") and ready to use in conjunction with the main product. Just download, point VMWare to the image and test away! www.vmware.com/products/server

DataRescue's IDA Pro Freeware 4.3 disassembler and debugger

Although not posted on the DataRescue site anymore, the free version of their utility will turn up with a quick Google dig. Try www.programmersheaven.com/

OllyDbg disassembler and debugger

Probably the world's most used debugger disassembler. Gives most commercial debuggers a good run for their money. www.ollydbg.de

eEye Digital Security's Binary Diffing Suite

A good, free suite of binary diffing tools you can use to see the effect that a released patch may have on your environment. Read the website, as there are some platform dependencies. research.eeye.com/html/tools/RT20060801-1.html

Cygwin: Linux-like environment for Windows

Need to run some scripts or programs that previously ran only under Linux? Do you miss your Linux command line when running Windows? www.cygwin.com

Nagios: An open-source host, service and network monitoring program

Not for security only, but Nagios can be used to monitor for events that typically have security implications. This is one that you and your CIO will agree upon. www.nagios.org

iptables and Firewall Builder: Firewall and Management Interface

Don't have the deep pockets for a Checkpoint, Cisco or Juniper? Iptables comes with most Linux distributions. Not comfortable using a command line to manage it? Firewall Builder is an intuitive way to install and manage the rule set. Get a couple of credit card CDs, create a bootable distribution, and you've got a firewall in your pocket. www.iptables.org and www.fwbuilder.org

Apache SpamAssassin: Fight Spam at the Gateway

Not really a secret to most people. With the right configuration this is difficult to beat no matter how much you spend on an antispam solution. spamassassin.apache.org/index.html

OpenSSH for Windows: Secure Shell for Windows

Because FTP is so passe (and insecure), use OpenSSH on the server side coupled with "PuTTY" and WinSCP on the client side for a cheap way to secure your file transfers. sshwindows.sourceforge.net, www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty and winscp.net

Cheops-ng: "The Network Swiss Army Knife"

A tool for mapping and monitoring your network. This is an excellent free way to track down most of the systems on your network. cheops-ng.sourceforge.net/download.php

ACID (Analysis Console for Intrusion Databases):

An analysis engine to search and process security events generated by various intrusion detection systems, firewalls and network monitoring tools. acidlab.sourceforge.net

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