Is Nmap Safe?

In: #security

Nmap is a network scanning tool that can scan large networks as well as single hosts quickly. Network administrators normally use it to identify the devices that are currently running on the system, the port number on which the devices are connected and the free ports that can be used.

Nmap Definition

On a high level, Nmap is known as a tool that can identify or analyze the services that are running on a system that’s connected to the Internet. This tool is normally used by network administrators to identify potential security flaws in their network systems. It can be used to automate many redundant tasks such as monitoring service update schedules. 

Understanding Nmap

In order to understand Nmap better, let’s take a look at how it scans or diagnoses the network or system. Nmap sends raw IP packets to know the hosts that are available on the network system. It can also detect the services that are being offered by these hosts, operating systems and other characteristics. 

Does Nmap Make Things Easy?

Nmap not only offers the network details but also identifies the security flaws that exist in the system. Nmap has an independent platform and can be run on different operating systems such as Windows, Mac, Linux and BSD. It’s easy to use and includes a command-line interface.

What Can Nmap Do?

Nmap is a useful tool for network scanning, vulnerability scanning and auditing purposes. These are things it can do:

  1. It can discover the free ports on the target host.
  2. It can discover the host connected to the network.
  3. It can detect any loopholes or potential vulnerabilities in the network system.
  4. It can detect all the services running on the host along with the operating system and version.
Working with Nmap

It’s easy to use Nmap. It encompasses the release of a new graphical user interface which is known as Zenmap Use, which can do a lot of things such as comparing a scan result, saving scan results in a database for future usage, view network system topology in a graphical way and much more. 

The network administrator or IT professional who wants to work on the command line interface can decide any of the scanning techniques offered by Nmap.

Is Nmap Safe To Use?

Nmap is a safe tool, and it’s also a dependable software that’s available for cybersecurity professionals. However, it’s understandable that nothing is really safe. Even Windows and builds of Linux contact vulnerabilities. 

There may be some restricted environment where it’s against the rules to install it. However, it’s only a matter of policy that can be checked locally. Regardless, it’s legitimate, safe, dependable and free for IT administrators, cybersecurity experts and IT professionals.

  1. Is it safe to install and use on your lab or home computer?

  2. Is it safe to install and use on a work computer?

  3. Is it safe to install and use on a work production server?
    Unless you’re in the security monitoring team, no, it is not.

  4. Is it safe to install and use on a test server or virtual machine or some test environment?
    It could be, depending on who is asking.
Advantages of Nmap

There are many benefits of Nmap that set it apart from other network scanning tools. To begin with, it’s open-source and free of charge. The other benefits include:

  1. It can search subdomain and Domain Name system queries.
  2. It can be used for auditing the network system as it can detect new servers.
  3. It can determine the nature of the service that the host is performing, like whether the host is a mail service or a web server or so on.
  4. With the help of the Nmap scripting engine (NSE), interaction can be made with the target host.
Network Scanning For Vulnerability Check

As a network administrator, there is a need to check the target hosts, identify free and occupied ports and perform a regular security vulnerability scan. Nmap offers all these utilities whether you want to monitor a single host or multiple target hosts. 

Most times, Nmap is used for regular network audits. However, it can also be used for performing some redundant jobs such as managing schedules of service upgrades, managing network inventory and monitoring uptime and downtime of different services.

As a reliable software, Nmap generates a report where it lists all the scanned target hosts with all the information that has been passed in the command. Additionally, it lists the state of the services such as open, close, filtered or unfiltered. 

Furthermore, the output can be extended to get the operating system type, device type, MAC address and reverse DNS names. As a cybersecurity expert, you can use Nmap to solve vulnerability issues. Scanning your network and system will help you to detect any vulnerabilities immediately. 

If you need help managing vulnerabilities, you can use Topia, a vulnerability management tool that helps CISOs as well IT managers make informed security decisions.



Written by Kent Weigle

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