Nmap explained from an Ethical Hacker's View

September 04, 2007
Nmap (Network MAPper) is a network scanner written by Gordon Lyon. It is a free and open source tool and is available at insecure.org with versions for Windows and Linux and is ubiquitous in its use.

Nmap can be (and is) used to for instance, scan for open ports on a remote server, to detect the OS run on the server, what all services are running on the remote server and so on.

Many of us might have run the TCP SYN scan which require root privileges and the TCP connect scan which can be run even as an ordinary user. But there is much more to the usage of nmap tool.

Kirby Tucker at ethical hacker has written a very informative article which provides inside knowledge about the usage of nmap as well as what each command accomplishes.

In part I of this tutorial, he explains no less than 13 different scans you can run using the nmap tool. And at the end he also demonstrates how you can glean information by running nmap in conjunction with wireshark (an open source network protocol analyzer). A really interesting read for all aspiring system administrators.

Update (September 06 2007): It seems the publishers of the article have run into some copyright problems and have temporarily taken the resource down till the problems could be ironed out.

In the meantime, a comprehensive resource on nmap which you will find really helpful is the book titled - "Secrets of Network Cartography: A Comprehensive Guide to nmap" authored by James Messer which you can freely read online. You can even download a PDF version of the book for a nominal price.


  • The link is no longer valid. Based on this comment it may have been copied work - http://www.networkuptime.com/archives/2007/09/its_flattering.html (James Messer's site).

    Looks like this person may have taken some of their information from James Messer's published work named "Secrets of Network Cartography:A Comprehensive Guide to nmap" which can be found here http://www.networkuptime.com/nmap/index.shtml.

    Best Regards,

  • Ravi

    Thanks for pointing this out. I appreciate it and have updated the post.


  • pavs

    There is another comprehensive nmap guie with screenshots and real life examples: