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50 Essential Open Source Security Tools

Anti-Everything, Encryption, Secure Delete, Forensics

  • November 11, 2008
  • By Cynthia Harvey
The area of open source security software is growing rapidly, with a cornucopia of apps for every use: anti-spam, firewalls, forensics, encryption, log monitoring, passwords – the list is growing even as you read this.

In many cases, these open source security tools – many of which are free – are available for the Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems.

Let the downloading begin…

1. SpamAssassin

Winner of multiple Datamation Product of the Year awards, SpamAssassin uses header and text analysis, Bayesian filtering, DNS blocklists, and collaborative filtering databases to block unwanted e-mail at the server level. It works with most mail systems and is available under the Apache license. Operating System: OS Independent.

Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware

2. ClamAV

This anti-virus toolkit is designed especially for protecting mail gateways and features a command line scanner, automatic updates, and more. Although the original ClamAV engine works only with Unix-like systems, numerous other projects (both open-source and commercial) have incorporated ClamAV. Operating System: Linux, Unix, BSD.

3. ClamWin

ClamWin provides a Windows front-end for the ClamAV antivirus toolkit. It features automatic updates, a scanning schedule, Outlook integration, and more. Operating System: Windows.

Application Firewall

4. SELinux

Developed by the NSA, Security Enhanced Linux adds mandatory access control features to the Linux OS. It enforces complete separation of information to make it more difficult to bypass application security mechanisms. Operating System: Linux, Unix.

5. AppArmor

Novell's application firewall uses policy-based profiles to control who can access various applications. It's included with openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise, but is also available for download for any Linux system. Operating System: Linux.

Data Destruction

6. Darik's Boot And Nuke

Just slip a disk containing Darik's Boot and Nuke into your system, and it will automatically destroy all the data on any hard drive it can detect. It's ideal for cleaning up old computers before they are donated or recycled. Operating System: OS Independent.

7. Eraser

Eraser completely eliminates a file so that it cannot be read with digital forensic tools. It overwrites data several times with random patterns erasing all traces of sensitive information. Operating System: Windows.

Encryption

8. TrueCrypt

TruCrypt can create a virtual encrypted disk within a file or encrypt a partition or drive on a Windows system. It can also be used to encrypt a portable hard drive or USB flash drive. Operating System: Windows, Mac, Linux.

9. AxCrypt

Simply right-click any file on Windows Explorer to encrypt it with AxCrypt. AxCrypt aims to make it as easy to work with encrypted files as it is to work with unencrypted files—just a lot more secure. Operating System: Windows.

File Transfer

10. WinSCP

WinSCP is a easy-to-use, basic SFTP and FTP client for Windows only. It also supports SCP. Operating System: Windows.

Forensics

11. The Sleuth Kit

Need to recover a deleted file? The Sleuth Kit lets you read deleted data from NTFS, FAT, FFS, and EXT2FS file systems. Operating System: Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix, BSD, Solaris.

Gateway Security Appliance

12. Untangle

A great alternative to expensive commercial security appliances, Untangle combines the best of open-source Web filtering, anti-spam, anti-spyware, anti-virus, intrusion prevention, firewall, VPN, and more into one download that can be used to turn any PC into a security appliance. Commercial support and other add-ons are available for a fee. Operating System: Linux.

13. Endian Firewall Community

Similar to Untangle, Endian Firewall Community can turn an old PC into a unified threat management (UTM) appliance that provides a firewall, anti-virus, anti-spam, content filtering, and a VPN. Pre-configured appliances and support are also available for a fee. Operating System: Linux.

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