What is Network Scanning?

Cybercriminals are always looking for the next network to attack. One tiny opportunity is all they need to strike. Network scanning comes in handy to protect your network from their antics.

You can use data obtained from network scanning to tighten your cybersecurity as it allows you to identify active devices connected to your network and how they interact with the internal and external components.    

What Does Network Scanning Mean?

By using a characteristic or features in the network protocol to signal devices and wait for a response, network scanning is a technique for finding active devices on a network. The majority of network scanning done today is utilized for management and monitoring, but it can also be used to spot users or network components that could be under attack. The specific protocol features used in scanning vary depending on the network, but for IP networks scanning typically sends a simple and direct message (a ping, for example) to every potential IP address in a given range, and if a response to the ping is received, uses a different protocol to obtain data on the devices.

When used by monitoring and management systems, scanning is used to identify current network users, determine the state of systems and devices, and take an inventory of network elements.  Often an inventory of devices is compared against a list of expected devices as a measure of health.  All these are legitimate management functions and are used routinely by network administrators.

The same techniques and procedures are employed in monitoring and management scanning as well as in scanning conducted by attackers. Typically, an attacker would use the WHOIS protocol or the DNS to first discover the IP address range assigned to a corporation. After that, the addresses in that address range would be scanned for servers, servers’ operating systems, systems architectures, and services that were executing on each one. The attacker can then try to access the target apps and systems. 

How does Network Scanning work?

The easiest way to get a network scan up and running is to hire one or more network administrators. They have the skills required to scan your network to evaluate IP addresses and also to locate live hosts that are connected to the network.

Now, since cybercriminals tend to use similar techniques to detect weaknesses in the network, the plan is to find the loopholes before hackers can discover them.

From what we have gathered, Nmap (https://nmap.org/) is one of the best free tools designed for scanning your network. It aids in making it easier for administrators to map IP addresses and to detect any device attached to the network.

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