Port scanners are tools that help users identify open ports on a computer network. Admins can use them for reviewing security policies and monitoring network services. Plus, an abundance of Linux port scanners makes it easy to discover sensitive network information. In this guide, we look at some of the best port scanners available for Linux users. Users just starting out can use them to gain hands-on experience with network security.
Nmap, or Network Mapper, has been the leading port scanner tool for decades. From cybersecurity professionals to network admins, everybody uses Nmap – even the bad guys. Nmap’s vast feature set makes it a suitable choice for reconnaissance. You can use Nmap to check open ports, discover host information, version messages, network assets, and so on.
Moreover, the Nmap Scripting Engine (NSE) makes it very customizable. Veteran users can craft sophisticated scripts tailored to meet custom requirements using NSE. Don’t worry if you’re just starting out, though. You can choose from a wide array of freely available, open-source scripts maintained by the community. In short, Nmap is the port scanner for people who want a robust, stable, and feature-rich scanner.
2. Angry IP Scanner
Angry IP Scanner is a lightweight yet powerful Linux port scanner. It’s a Java-based tool and provides a minimal GUI interface. Angry IP Scanner is known for its blazing fast speed. Moreover, it leverages multiple threads for speeding up the scanning process even more. It does this by creating a separate scanning thread for each scan.
You can also use this tool for gathering extra host information. Angry IP Scanner can determine hostnames, MAC addresses, and even web services in some cases. You can store the scan result in several formats, including plaintext, CSV, and XML.
Sandmap is an open-source port scanner built on top of the Nmap engine. It’s dubbed as “Nmap on steroids” due to its innovative features and lightning-fast speed. Moreover, Sandmap comes with over 30 modules and 400 scan profiles. You can leverage advanced Nmap functionalities without knowing how they work. This makes Sandmap a great option for hobbyists.
Apart from powerful scripting, Sandmap also supports the TOR network and proxychains, thus making it a suitable option for privacy-focused users. If you are looking for a simple but solid Linux port scanner, give Sandmap a try.
Unicornscan is a powerful information-gathering tool that can be used for port scanning. An active community of security researchers contributes to Unicornscan, so it offers several cutting-edge features. Unicornscan utilizes an asynchronous workflow for port scanning. This helps it scale better and monitor an extensive range of systems without any issues.
Some of its other features include PCAP filtering, response analysis, support for relational databases, and custom modules. Its robust component identification features help to discover network resources. Overall, Unicornscan is a solid choice for advanced Linux users and security professionals.
Netcat is an immensely powerful networking tool with built-in port scanning features. It offers excellent support for network debugging. This helps to identify interesting ports and services. Plus, Netcat comes pre-installed in almost every Unix system, thus, users don’t need to install any extra tools or configurations for Netcat.
You can also use Netcat to create proxies, perform web requests, transfer encrypted files, and so on. Overall, it’s the Swiss army knife of Linux networking tools with practical usage in reconnaissance.
6. Zeus Scanner
Zeus Scanner is an advanced surveillance tool that offers features for port scanning, whois lookup, and vulnerability assessment. Its powerful parsing engine makes it easy to parse URLs. Some of its other features include running Google dorks, identifying firewalls, and bypassing IP bans.
Moreover, the open-source license of this tool makes it easy to extend and change the functionalities. If you’re looking for advanced reconnaissance tools, give Zeus Scanner a try.
Vault is a feature-rich penetration testing tool with robust port scanning capabilities. Admins can also use this tool for information gathering, fuzzing, and crawling websites. It’s a Python-based Linux port scanner, so you must have Python 3 in your machine.
Vault provides several port scanning methods, including ACK, FIN, and XMAS scanning. Moreover, its OS scan and SSL scan features can save considerable time for security professionals.
Linux offers many interesting port scanners for security enthusiasts. Tools like Nmap have become a go-to utility for professionals. On the other hand, newer projects are trying to close the gap between traditional port scanners and feature-rich vulnerability scanners. Meanwhile, you can also learn how to use a vulnerability scanner in Linux.