security, networking

nmap is a pentesting tool executed via terminal using nmap command.

It’s usefull for port scanning, that means we know if that computer is hosting some Website or open to SSH etc. A port is necessary for making request on a network.

Every computer has a total of 65535 available ports; however, many of these are registered as standard ports (1024).

So nmap does a check on every port and depending on how the port responds, it can be determined as being open, closed, or filtered (usually by a firewall).

Scan types #

When port scanning with Nmap, there are three basic scan types. These are:

  1. TCP Connect Scans (-sT)

This perform a three-way handshake with the ports specified in the command. Depends on what we get back, we can figure it out how’s the port’s status.
If we get back a RST flag set -> the port is close;
If we get back a SYN/ACK flag set -> the port is open;
What if we got nothing back? This mean that the port is hidden behind a firewall and it will be marked as filtered;

  1. SYN Scans (-sS)

Also known as stealth scan, is used to scan the TCP port-range of a prey(s). Keep in mind that this scan require sudo permission, because we need to create raw packets not the full TCP handshake.

  1. UDP Scans (-sU)

When a packet is sent to an open UDP port, there should be no response. When this happens, nmap refers to the port as being open or filtered

Additionally there are several less common port scan types like:

  1. TCP Null Scans (-sN)

Send TCP request is sent with no flags set at all, and if it’s closed it should send back the RST flag.

  1. TCP FIN Scans (-sF)

The request is sent with only the FIN flag. Once again, nmap expects a RST if the port is closed.

  1. TCP Xmas Scans (-sX)

Send a malformed TCP packet, with only PSH, URG and FIN sets and expects a RST response for closed ports.

Nmap Scripting Engine - NSE #

This scripts, written in LUA, expands the nmap capability. The standard scripts, stored at /usr/share/nmap/scripts, are divded by categorys such as: safe, intrusive, vuln, exploit, auth, brute and [many more](https://nmap.org/book/nse-usage.html).

It’s possible to use this scripts typing:

nmap <IP_ADDRESS> -sT -sS --script=<CATEGORY>

and, if needed, it possible to parse some arguments to them with --script-args followed by the arguments.