|Original author(s)||Gordon Lyon (Fyodor)|
|Initial release||September 1997|
7.94 / 19 May 2023
|Written in||C, C++, Python, Lua|
|License||NPSL or modified GPLv2 or proprietary|
Nmap (Network Mapper) is a network scanner created by Gordon Lyon (also known by his pseudonym Fyodor Vaskovich). Nmap is used to discover hosts and services on a computer network by sending packets and analyzing the responses.
Nmap provides a number of features for probing computer networks, including host discovery and service and operating system detection. These features are extensible by scripts that provide more advanced service detection, vulnerability detection, and other features. Nmap can adapt to network conditions including latency and congestion during a scan.
Nmap features include:
- Fast scan (nmap -F [target]) – Performing a basic port scan for fast result.
- Host discovery – Identifying hosts on a network. For example, listing the hosts that respond to TCP and/or ICMP requests or have a particular port open.
- Port scanning – Enumerating the open ports on target hosts.
- Version detection – Interrogating network services on remote devices to determine application name and version number.
- Ping Scan – Check host by sending ping requests.
- TCP/IP stack fingerprinting – Determining the operating system and hardware characteristics of network devices based on observations of network activity of said devices.
- Scriptable interaction with the target – using Nmap Scripting Engine (NSE) and Lua programming language.
Typical uses of Nmap:
- Auditing the security of a device or firewall by identifying the network connections which can be made to, or through it.
- Identifying open ports on a target host in preparation for auditing.
- Network inventory, network mapping, maintenance and asset management.
- Auditing the security of a network by identifying new servers.
- Generating traffic to hosts on a network, response analysis and response time measurement.
- Finding and exploiting vulnerabilities in a network.
- DNS queries and subdomain search
NmapFE, originally written by Kanchan, was Nmap's official GUI for Nmap versions 2.2 to 4.22. For Nmap 4.50 (originally in the 4.22SOC development series) NmapFE was replaced with Zenmap, a new official graphical user interface based on UMIT, developed by Adriano Monteiro Marques.
Web-based interfaces exist that allow either controlling Nmap or analysing Nmap results from a web browser, such as IVRE.
Zenmap, showing results for a port scan against Wikipedia
NmapFE, showing results for a port scan against Wikipedia
XNmap, a Mac OS X GUI
Four different output formats are offered by Nmap. Everything is saved to a file except the interactive output. Text processing software can be used to modify Nmap output, allowing the user to customize reports.
- presented and updated real time when a user runs Nmap from the command line. Various options can be entered during the scan to facilitate monitoring.
- a format that can be further processed by XML tools. It can be converted into a HTML report using XSLT.
- output that is tailored to line-oriented processing tools such as grep, sed, or awk.
- the output as seen while running Nmap from the command line, but saved to a file.
- Script kiddie
- meant to be an amusing way to format the interactive output replacing letters with their visually alike number representations. For example,
Int3rest1ng p0rtz. This is known as Leet.
Nmap was first published in September 1997, as an article in Phrack Magazine with source-code included. With help and contributions of the computer security community, development continued. Enhancements included operating system fingerprinting, service fingerprinting, code rewrites (C to C++), additional scan types, protocol support (e.g. IPv6, SCTP) and new programs that complement Nmap's core features.
Major releases include:
|December 12, 1998||Nmap 2.00||Nmap 2.00 is released, including Operating System fingerprinting|
|April 11, 1999||NmapFE||A GTK+ front end, is bundled with Nmap|
|December 7, 2000||Windows port|
|August 28, 2002||Rewrite from C to C++|
|September 16, 2003||The first public release to include service version detection|
|August 31, 2004||Nmap 3.70||Core scan engine rewritten for version 3.70. New engine is called ultra_scan|
|Summer 2005||Nmap selected for participation in Google Summer of Code. Added features included Zenmap, Nmap Scripting Engine (NSE), Ncat, and 2nd-generation OS detection.|
|December 13, 2007||Nmap 4.50||Nmap 4.50, the 10th Anniversary Edition, was released. Included Zenmap, 2nd-generation OS detection, and the Nmap Scripting Engine|
|March 30, 2009||Nmap 4.85BETA5||Emergency release of Nmap 4.85BETA5, leveraging NSE to detect Conficker infections|
|July 16, 2009||Nmap 5.00||Included netcat-replacement Ncat and Ndiff scan comparison tool|
|January 28, 2011||Nmap 5.50||Included Nping packet generation response analysis and response time measurement, including TCP, UDP and ICMP probe modes.|
|May 21, 2012||Nmap 6.00||Released with full IPv6 support.|
|November 9, 2015||Nmap 7.00 |
|December 20, 2016||Nmap 7.40|
|March 20, 2018||Nmap 7.70 |
|August 10, 2019||Nmap 7.80 |
|October 3, 2020||Nmap 7.90 ||The new fingerprints allow better operating system and service/version detection. 3 new NSE scripts, new protocol library and payloads for host discovery, port scanning and version detection. Npcap 1.0.0, the first fully stable version of the Windows raw packet capturing/sending driver.|
Nmap is a tool that can be used to discover services running on Internet connected systems. Like any tool, it could potentially be used for black hat hacking, as a precursor to attempts to gain unauthorized access to computer systems. However, Nmap is also used by security and systems administrators to assess their own networks for vulnerabilities (i.e. white hat hacking).
System administrators can use Nmap to search for unauthorized servers, or for computers that do not conform to security standards.
In its ruling the Supreme Court stated that the defendant had systematically carried out port scanning operations to gather information for the purpose of unauthorised break-in to the bank's computer network. This amounted to an attempted computer break in.
Nmap was originally distributed under the GNU Public License (GPL). In later releases, Nmap's authors added clarifications and specific interpretations to the license where they felt the GPL was unclear or lacking. For instance, Nmap 3.50 specifically revoked the license of SCO Group to distribute Nmap software because of their views on the SCO-Linux controversies.
Starting with version 7.90, Nmap transitions to a new custom license NPSL, dual-licensing versions 7.90, 7.91, and 7.92 under both old and new licenses. Several Linux distributions consider the new license non-free.
In popular culture
In The Matrix Reloaded, Trinity is seen using Nmap to access a power plant's computer system, allowing Neo to "physically" break into a building. The appearance of Nmap in the film was widely discussed on Internet forums and hailed as an unusually realistic example of hacking.
Nmap and NmapFE were used in The Listening, a 2006 movie about a former NSA officer who defects and mounts a clandestine counter-listening station high in the Italian alps.
Nmap source code can be seen in the movie Battle Royale, as well as brief views of the command line version of Nmap executing in Live Free or Die Hard and Bourne Ultimatum. In 2013, Nmap continued to make appearances in movies including popular sci-fi movie Elysium.
The film Dredd, a film adaptation of the famous Judge Dredd comics, was released in 2012 and also contains multiple Nmap scenes. Nmap is used for network reconnaissance and exploitation of the slum tower network. It is even seen briefly in the movie's trailer.
The command Nmap is widely used in the video game Hacknet, allowing to probe the network ports of a target system to hack it.
In Snowden, Nmap is used in the aptitude test scene about 14 minutes into the movie.
Nmap is an integral part of academic activities. It has been used for research involving the TCP/IP protocol suite and networking in general. Besides being a research tool, Nmap has also become a research topic.
$ nmap -A scanme.nmap.org Starting Nmap 6.47 ( https://nmap.org ) at 2014-12-29 20:02 CET Nmap scan report for scanme.nmap.org (126.96.36.199) Host is up (0.16s latency). Not shown: 997 filtered ports PORT STATE SERVICE VERSION 22/tcp open ssh OpenSSH 5.3p1 Debian 3ubuntu7.1 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0) | ssh-hostkey: | 1024 8d:60:f1:7c:ca:b7:3d:0a:d6:67:54:9d:69:d9:b9:dd (DSA) |_ 2048 79:f8:09:ac:d4:e2:32:42:10:49:d3:bd:20:82:85:ec (RSA) 80/tcp open http Apache httpd 2.2.14 ((Ubuntu)) |_http-title: Go ahead and ScanMe! 9929/tcp open nping-echo Nping echo Warning: OSScan results may be unreliable because we could not find at least 1 open and 1 closed port Device type: general purpose|phone|storage-misc|WAP Running (JUST GUESSING): Linux 2.6.X|3.X|2.4.X (94%), Netgear RAIDiator 4.X (86%) OS CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel:2.6.38 cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel:3 cpe:/o:netgear:raidiator:4 cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel:2.4 Aggressive OS guesses: Linux 2.6.38 (94%), Linux 3.0 (92%), Linux 2.6.32 - 3.0 (91%), Linux 2.6.18 (91%), Linux 2.6.39 (90%), Linux 2.6.32 - 2.6.39 (90%), Linux 2.6.38 - 3.0 (90%), Linux 2.6.38 - 2.6.39 (89%), Linux 2.6.35 (88%), Linux 2.6.37 (88%) No exact OS matches for host (test conditions non-ideal). Network Distance: 13 hops Service Info: OS: Linux; CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel TRACEROUTE (using port 80/tcp) HOP RTT ADDRESS 1 14.21 ms 188.8.131.52 2 5.27 ms ae10-0.mx240-iphh.shitty.network (184.108.40.206) 3 13.16 ms hmb-s2-rou-1102.DE.eurorings.net (220.127.116.11) 4 6.83 ms blnb-s1-rou-1041.DE.eurorings.net (18.104.22.168) 5 8.30 ms blnb-s3-rou-1041.DE.eurorings.net (22.214.171.124) 6 9.42 ms as6939.bcix.de (126.96.36.199) 7 24.56 ms 10ge10-6.core1.ams1.he.net (188.8.131.52) 8 30.60 ms 100ge9-1.core1.lon2.he.net (184.108.40.206) 9 93.54 ms 100ge1-1.core1.nyc4.he.net (220.127.116.11) 10 181.14 ms 10ge9-6.core1.sjc2.he.net (18.104.22.168) 11 169.54 ms 10ge3-2.core3.fmt2.he.net (22.214.171.124) 12 164.58 ms router4-fmt.linode.com (126.96.36.199) 13 164.32 ms scanme.nmap.org (188.8.131.52) OS and Service detection performed. Please report any incorrect results at https://nmap.org/submit/ . Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 28.98 seconds
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