Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks

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The Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks (SATAN) is a testing and reporting toolbox that collects a variety of information about networked hosts. It features a web interface, complete with forms to enter targets, tables to display results and context-sensitive tutorials that appear when a hole has been found.


The tool was developed by Dan Farmer and Wietse Venema. Neil Gaiman drew the artwork for the SATAN documentation.

SATAN was designed to help systems administrators automate the process of testing their systems for known vulnerabilities that can be exploited via the network. This is particularly useful for networked systems with multiple hosts. Like most security tools, it is useful for good or malicious purposes – it is also useful to would-be intruders looking for systems with security holes.

SATAN is written mostly in Perl and utilizes a web browser such as Netscape, Mosaic or Lynx to provide the user interface. This easy to use interface drives the scanning process and presents the results in summary format. As well as reporting the presence of vulnerabilities, SATAN also gathers large amounts of general network information, such as which hosts are connected to subnets, what types of machines they are and which services they offer.

SATAN was released in 1995 and is not being further developed. In 2006, SecTools.Org conducted a security popularity poll and developed a list of 100 network security analysis tools in order of popularity based on the responses of 3,243 people. Results suggest that SATAN has been replaced by Nessus and to a lesser degree SARA (Security Auditor′s Research Assistant; discontinued 9/1/2009), and SAINT.

For those offended by the name, the package contains a program called repent, which changes everything named SATAN to SANTA.

SATAN has fallen from popularity after the height of its popularity in the 1990s.

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