Why is Internet data coming and going when I'm idle?

After exiting (or before starting) the IE browser, I see about 2500 bytes uploaded per minute and about 2400 bytes downloaded. These used to be zero. Perhaps my ISP has changed its protocol, but it would be nice to know if there’s a simple way I can find out why or where this data is going.

My knowledge of Internet is very limited, and the reason I’m concerned is fear of viruses. I had a nasty Fujacks infection for a while. This led to high-rate transfers while I was idle (I suppose I was part of a spambot farm :smack:), but the idle traffic now is much lower. Now I run avast! Free Antivirus, but if it can tell me what this idle traffic is, I don’t know how to tell it to do so.

It’s hard to say. A lot of programs have background updaters these days and the like. If you have any instant messaging or email programs or antivirus programs, they might be talking to various servers.

You can look at it several ways:

  1. Go to Start -> Run and type in “cmd” and push enter. Then type “netstat |more” (that | is a pipe, located near the Enter key and shared with the \ key). That’ll list the open connections and tell you where they’re going and coming from.

  2. You can download a free packet-inspection program like WireShark to actually look at the traffic go in and out. But unless you’re familiar with networking protocols, it might not make sense to you.

  3. Your router (if you have one) can sometimes tell you how much bandwidth is being used and where it’s going.

  4. If you have a virus or spyware, 1 & 2 aren’t necessarily going to be reliable indicators because the virus could be tampering with them. You’ll want to look from your router or another computer – not necessarily an easy task.

Netlimiter will tell you which process is using your internet connection, I would think that it would most likely be update checking (adobe products, quicktime etc) or just hand-shaking. Are you sure that the data you saw was actually internet traffic rather than traffic between your computer and your router/modem?