Introduction to Network Scanning Tools
A digital system that belongs to any organization is usually comprised of several technologies. The system may consist of several things like a web application, servers, routers, network architecture, and other network devices. If we talk about the security of the system, all these devices are supposed to be secure to provide overall security to the system. The web application can be protected by opting for a secure way of coding while the other network devices can be protected by using the configuration. In order to keep the network secure from the attacks, first, we need to identify the vulnerabilities in the networking devices. For the purpose of finding the vulnerabilities, we will need to scan the network or the networking devices. In this course, we are going to learn about the tools that are used to perform network scanning. So let’s get started to explore the.
Network Scanning Tools
Network scanning tools may be defined as the tools that are used to perform scan on the network with an intention to detect the existing vulnerabilities. The network scan is all about checking for the security misconfigurations in the network devices. Another reason that usually leads to the vulnerability in the network is using the old versions of any service. The network scanning could be performed using either the command line utilities of the Linux operating system or some of the cloud-based applications.
Below are the popular tools that are used to perform network scanning.
Nexpose may be defined as the network scanning tool that is used to perform network scanning. It usually runs the Nmap scripts in the background in order to perform the scan. The output of the scan is based on which mode of scan has been done.
There are two modes of scanning in Nexpose: 1. Authenticated Scanning 2. Unauthenticated Scanning.
In the unauthenticated scan, the nexpose engine does not scan the files that need authentication to be scanned and hence the output generated are not accurate. The authenticated scan checks the critical configuration files as the scan was authenticated using the admin credentials. Nexpose has the one-tier architecture as it has the console, database, and engine at the same site. Nexpose is a product of Rapid7 that is an organization that developed this tool.
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Nessus can be considered as the other network scanning tool that is used to ensure the security of the application by magnifying the vulnerabilities. This tool has been developed by Tannable and in the current period, it has been used by more than twenty-five thousand organizations. Similar to nexpose, it also examines special files and folders that consist of the data related to its security configuration of the device. It checks for the services running on the network devices together with their version so that it could determine if the version is weak for the attack. It is also capable of checking the configuration file to ensure the vulnerabilities. Also, if there are services running on the device, it also finds out the version of the service in order to check if that version is vulnerable.
NMap may be considered as another command line-based network scanning utility that can be found inbuilt on some of the Linux distribution. It runs the scan in order to check the status of a port by using either TCP or UDP protocol. It is a strong eno to scan all the 65535 ports. While using this utility, there are several attributes that could be used in order to customize the scan.
Nmap is also capable of detecting the operating system of the host or the network device that it scans. There are some default values associated with the attributes and by using such attributes we can perform the efficient network scan. It is the base of tools like nexpose which means all the operations performed by nexpose are actually performed using Nmap in background. It confirms of any port is filtered, closed or open. Based on the kind of protocol we use while scanning the network, it takes the required time and also tries to establish the connection accordingly.
Qualys can also be considered as the other best network scanning tool. It scans the network or the concerned network devices in order to ensure if they meet the requirements to adhere to the compliance. It was developed by organizations named Qualys that was found in 1999. It was the first network vulnerability scanner that was introduced to the market in December 2000.
This tool not just scan the vulnerabilities in the network but also suggests the patch associated with it in order to remediate the vulnerability. In addition to network scanning, it also has the functionality to scan the vulnerabilities in web applications.
The best part about using Qualys is, it gives accurate scanning report and also make the user aware of what kind of action has to be taken in order to fix the vulnerability. It is actually a cloud-based vulnerability scanner that performs the scans and saves the report in cloud-only. It is also capable of performing the policy scan which checks things like if the hardening of the server has been done. In a nutshell, Qualys is a whole package for scanning the network, web application and policies, and it is what makes it popular.
Nikto may be defined as the other command-line based network scanning utility which is usually present in the Linux distribution like Kali Linux.
It is preferred when the requirement is to perform server type specific checks. Though Nikto is considered as the tool that generates lots of false alarms but still being an open-source it is being used very often for network scanning. Similar to the other tools, it also checks the vulnerabilities existing in the network and alert us about it so that those could be fixed before the attacker takes advantage of it. It is available by default in some of the Linux distributions while in others it could be installed. The way it scans the network is pretty much the same as the other tools do but it lacks the availability to run the scan in a customized manner. Also, being a command-line tool, the user’s whim is familiar with the command line interface finds it easy to work with it and remains of the users prefer to work with the graphical user interface based tools.
Zenmap is the graphical user interface version of the Nmap network security scanner. It may also be defined as the GUI based network scanning tool that runs the Nmap commands in the background in order to perform the scan. In the environment of this tool, there is an input box that specifically serves the purpose of taking the Nmap commands.
Just below that input box, there is an output area which shows all the outcome of running that Nmap command. This is also an open-source network scanning tool and that is the reason it is popular among the users who liked to work with a graphical user interface. The important thing about this tool is, it can perform each and every single action that Nmap can perform which makes it very helpful and easy to work with.
OpenVAS is the other network scanner which is mainly used for performing the vulnerability scan and managing vulnerabilities. In the beginning, it was an open-source tool that later turned into a proprietary license by Tenable. The way of working if this scanner can be found the same as that of others. It may also be considered as the network scanning tools that makes it very efficient and effective to run as scan as the output revised as the result of scanning are pretty accurate. The way to remediate the vulnerabilities is also mentioned in the report sheet making it very easy for the users to mitigate the risk caused due to that vulnerability. In comparison to the other tools, it is also used widely by several organizations as it supports the feature of scheduled scanning. This tool makes it very easy to keep track of all the vulnerabilities of the network so that it should be kept protected against the harmful attacks.
The network scanner tools are the applications or utilities that have been developed to identify the vulnerabilities in the network. The soul purpose of the existence of such tools is to contribute to maintaining the security of any organization. There are several tools out in the market which serve the purpose of network scanning and every tool holds their own importance. Some have good interface while others are good at performing the scan in a short span of time. One can opt for any of the tools among the various options by analyzing what exactly they are expecting the network scanner to do for them. These tools actually help in maintaining the security of the organization and together with the time, they are being amended continuously to step together with the improved forms of attacks.
This is a guide to Network Scanning Tools. Here we discuss the Introduction to Network Scanning Tools and top 7 scanning tools. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –