Introduction to Scanning - Second Step to Hacking

Attackers begin their quest for an entry point into the target system after identifying the target and doing basic reconnaissance. Attackers should detect whether the target systems are active or inactive to save scanning time. Notably, scanning is a deeper reconnaissance in which the attacker learns more about the target. 

Network Scanning refers to a set of procedures used for identifying hosts, ports, and services in a network. It is one of the most crucial aspects of an attacker's information collection, allowing him or her to develop a profile of the target organisation. 

Scanning is used to find vulnerable communication channels, explore as many listeners as feasible, and track those responsive or relevant to an attacker's needs. The attacker then employs the information he or she has gathered to devise an attack strategy. 


Port Scanning

Port scanning is a technique for discovering whether network ports are open and potentially receiving or delivering data. It is also a procedure that involves sending or probing packets to TCP and UDP ports on a host and analysing the responses to find vulnerabilities. This analysis provides information on the operating system and the application that is currently in use. Sometimes, active services that are listening may allow unauthorized users to misconfigure systems or to run software with vulnerabilities. 

Network Scanning

The active hosts and IP addresses are listed. Network scanning is a method of locating active hosts on a network to attack them or analyse the network's security. 

Vulnerability Scanning

Shows the presence of known weaknesses.  Vulnerability scanning is a technique for determining whether a system is exploitable by discovering its flaws. A vulnerability scanner is made up of two parts: a scanning engine and a catalogue. The catalogue is a list of commonly used files with known vulnerabilities and exploits for various servers. The scanning engine keeps logic for reading the exploit list, transferring requests to the web server, and analysing requests to verify the server's safety. 
A criminal looking to break into a house looks for entry points like doors and windows. Because they are easily accessible, these are frequently the house's weak points. When it comes to computer systems and networks, ports are the system's doors and windows that an attacker can utilise to gain access. 

A common guideline for computer systems is that the more open ports there are on a system, the more vulnerable it is. However, in other circumstances, a system with fewer open ports than another machine poses a significantly higher level of vulnerability.  


The more information available about the target organisation, the greater the likelihood of discovering a network's security flaws and, as a result, obtaining unauthorised access to it. Some objectives for scanning a network are as follows:
  • Discover the network's live hosts, IP addresses, and open ports. The attacker will decide the best way to infiltrate the system by using the open ports. 
  • Learn about the target's operating system and system architecture. This is also referred to as fingerprinting. An attacker can devise an attack strategy based on the operating system's weaknesses.
  • Identify specific applications or versions of a particular service. 
  • Find out what services are running/listening on the target system. This informs the attacker of the vulnerabilities (depending on the service) that can be exploited to get access to the target system.
  • Identify flaws in any of the network systems. This enables an attacker to compromise the target system or network via a variety of attacks. 


Using scanning tools, one can find and identify open ports, active hosts, services that are running on a target network, location data, NetBIOS data, and details about all open TCP/IP and UDP ports. An ethical hacker might create a profile of the target organisation and check the network for open ports on connected devices with the help of the information gathered from these tools.
  • Nmap
  • Hping2/Hping3
  • Metasploit
  • NetScan Tools Pro
  • Unicornscan
  • SolwarWindws Port Scanner
  • PRTG Network Monitor
  • OmniPeek Network Protocol Analyzer
  • For Mobile:
    • IP Scanner (iOS)
    • Fing (iOS and Android)
    • Network Scanner (Android) 

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