Types of scanning

  • Port Scan Port scanning is the process of sending carefully crafted messages or packets to a target computer with the intent of learning more about it. These probes are typically associated with well-known port numbers or those less than or equal to 1024. Through the careful application of this technique, you can learn about the services a system offers to the network as a whole. It is even possible that during this process you can tell systems such as mail servers, domain controllers, and web servers from one another. In this book the primary tool we will use in port scanning is Fyodor’s nmap, which is considered by many to be the definitive port scanner.More than likely when the topic of scanning is mentioned, this is the type of scan many think of. While many different scanners on the market perform the same task, nmap is far and away the most frequently used.
  • Network Scan Network scanning is designed to locate all the live hosts on a network (the hosts that are running). This type of scan will identify those systems that may be attacked later or those that may be scanned a little more closely. Scans that fit into this category are those such as ping sweeps, which rapidly scan a range of IPs and determine if an address has a powered-on host attached to it or not. Tools to perform this type of scan include nmap and Angry IP as well as others.
  • Vulnerability Scan A vulnerability scan is used to identify weaknesses or vulnerabilities on a target system. This type of scan is quite commonly done as a proactive measure, with the goal of catching problems internally before an attacker is able to locate those same vulnerabilities and act on them. A typical vulnerability scan will discover hosts, access points, and open ports; analyze service response; classify threats; and generate reports. Vulnerability scans are popular with companies because they can perform them on their own quite easily to assess their systems. Two commonly used vulnerability scanners include Tenable’s Nessus and Rapid7’s Nexpose. In addition there are specialized scanners such as Burp Suite, Nikto, and WebInspect.
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