From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Developer(s) Michal Zalewski
Operating system Linux, Windows
Type OS fingerprinting
Website lcamtuf.coredump.cx/p0f.shtml

p0f is a versatile passive OS fingerprinting tool. p0f can identify the system on machines that connect to your box, machines you connect to, and even machines that merely go through or near your box even if the device is behind a packet firewall.

p0f will also detect what the remote system is hooked up to (be it Ethernet, DSL, OC3), how far it is located, what's its uptime. The latest beta can also detect masquerade or illegal network hook-ups (useful for ISPs and corporate networks). p0f can detect certain types of packet filters and NAT setups, and sometimes can determine the name of the other guy's ISP. It's still passive. It does not generate any network traffic. No name lookups, no traffic to the victim, no ARIN queries, no trace route.


p0f can identify the system on:

  • machines that connect to your box (SYN mode)
  • machines you connect to (SYN+ACK mode)
  • machines you cannot connect to (RST+ mode)
  • machines that talk through or near your box

But checking the system is not all p0f can do, p0f will also check the following:

  • masquerading and firewall presence (useful for policy enforcement)
  • the distance to the remote system and its uptime
  • other guys' network hookup (DSL, OC3, avian carriers) and his ISP

[1] [2] [3]

Advantage over other fingerprinting tools[edit]

The passive nature of p0f is what sets it apart from the other fingerprinting tools. p0f passively listens to the network traffic without creating any extra packets. It determines the operating system of the remote host by analyzing certain fields in the captured packets. Due to this passive analysis, the remote system will not be able to detect the packet capture.

How it works[edit]

As mentioned above, p0f captures packets, and analyses it on the basis of certain fields. Time to live (TTL), Win, Don't Fragment and TOS are some of the fields used for OS fingerprinting by p0f. Values of these fields are compared with the signatures in a fingerprint file, which is stored in /etc/p0f/p0f.fp in most implementations of p0f. The user is allowed to use a different fingerprinting file by running p0f in a suitable mode.


p0f lacks a graphical user interface. It commands can be run from the terminal and a comprehensive list of p0f utility options is given below

Usage: p0f [ -f file ] [ -i device ] [ -s file ] [ -o file ]
       [ -w file ] [ -Q sock [ -0 ] ] [ -u user ] [ -FXVNDUKASCMROqtpvdlrx ]
       [ -c size ] [ -T nn ] [ -e nn ] [ 'filter rule' ]
  -f file   - read fingerprints from file
  -i device - listen on this device
  -s file   - read packets from tcpdump snapshot
  -o file   - write to this logfile (implies -t)
  -w file   - save packets to tcpdump snapshot
  -u user   - chroot and setuid to this user
  -Q sock   - listen on local socket for queries
  -0        - make src port 0 a wildcard (in query mode)
  -e ms     - pcap capture timeout in milliseconds (default: 1)
  -c size   - cache size for -Q and -M options
  -M        - run masquerade detection
  -T nn     - set masquerade detection threshold (1-200)
  -V        - verbose masquerade flags reporting
  -F        - use fuzzy matching (do not combine with -R)
  -N        - do not report distances and link media
  -D        - do not report OS details (just genre)
  -U        - do not display unknown signatures
  -K        - do not display known signatures (for tests)
  -S        - report signatures even for known systems
  -A        - go into SYN+ACK mode (semi-supported)
  -R        - go into RST/RST+ACK mode (semi-supported)
  -O        - go into stray ACK mode (barely supported)
  -r        - resolve host names (not recommended)
  -q        - be quiet - no banner
  -v        - enable support for 802.1Q VLAN frames
  -p        - switch card to promiscuous mode
  -d        - daemon mode (fork into background)
  -l        - use single-line output (easier to grep)
  -x        - include full packet dump (for debugging)
  -X        - display payload string (useful in RST mode)
  -C        - run signature collision check
  -t        - add timestamps to every entry

  'Filter rule' is an optional pcap-style BPF expression (man tcpdump).

source :[1]


  1. ^ http://www.cougarsecurity.com/p0f
  2. ^ Jon Mark Allen, OS and Application Fingerprinting Techniques
  3. ^ http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/p0f.shtml

External links[edit]