If you’re looking for a single source of information and utilities to help secure your network from outside threats, AntiOnline may be just what need. Founded by John Paul Vranesevich in 1993, AntiOnline offers many resources you can use to better secure your networks, including:

  • News updates on the latest security threats.
  • Links to other security sites.
  • Downloads of security and hacker utilities.
  • A knowledgeable community with which to share ideas.

Because of its wealth of information and resources, AntiOnline may be one of the best non-vendor-related security sites on the Internet.

Vranesevich, or JP as he identifies himself on the site, founded AntiOnline while he was in high school after a hacker used a computer to which he had admin rights to launch an attack on the NASA Web site. Because JP was initially implicated in the crime, he immediately became interested in security issues and decided to launch a Web site dedicated to sharing information on the subject.

Many have criticized AntiOnline as a site that encourages computer crime, perhaps because much of the information it offers focuses on computer security weaknesses that hackers can exploit. But JP says nothing could be further from the truth. The philosophy behind the site is that admins can better secure their networks by knowing what hackers know and understanding the tools hackers use to launch attacks.

Layout and contents
Content on the AntiOnline home page is divided into three sections. Featured content, including news and active forum links, occupies the center of the page. Since AntiOnline relies heavily on the sharing of information, the forums are a focal point, and links to active threads make up the bulk of the content on the home page.

The right column is the navigation section of the home page, offering links, search features, and a quick tip of the day. The left column is devoted to user and member information and site status. Membership is free and gives users access to many features of the site, most of which focus on facilitating communication among the site community. Members can view and send private messages, invite others to join the site, and create or edit a buddy list, among other things.

AntiOnline’s forums, which are the heart of the site, are divided into nine sections:

  • AntiOnline Site Related
  • AntiOnline Special Feature Discussions
  • General Discussion Forums
  • Newbie Help
  • Security Discussions
  • General Technology Forums
  • Private Forums
  • Front Page News & Views
  • Public News Groups

The Security Discussions likely contain the most useful forums. Its active forums include:

  • AntiVirus Discussions
  • IDS & Scanner Discussions
  • Firewall & Honeypot Discussions
  • Microsoft Security Discussions
  • Mac Security Discussions

These forums give admins ample opportunity to share their experiences and seek advice on dealing with specific issues. The strength of the site is the way it allows those concerned about security to discuss their concerns and share information about threats and vulnerabilities.

Another useful site feature is its downloads section. AntiOnline offers thousands of downloads, most of which are utilities used by hackers to exploit vulnerabilities. But the list also includes “legitimate” tools such as antivirus programs. The hacker programs can be useful security tools themselves, because they allow admins to identify and eliminate security weaknesses that hackers could potentially see and exploit.

Final thoughts
There are plenty of good security sites on the Internet, but few offer the hacker’s-eye view of things the way AntiOnline does. That view, an extensive download list, and the site’s community approach make AntiOnline a valuable resource for network security information.

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