How does network scanning work?


In a general sense, network administrators use network scanning to identify active hosts on a network by evaluating IP addresses and more. The same types of principles can also be used in cyberattacks to find weaknesses in a system.

In a practical sense, there are different tools and techniques for network scanning. Administrators may conduct ping sweeps, where they find a range of IP addresses that map to live hosts in the network. This may require using tools like Nmap to look at how these IP addresses are mapped.

Administrators can also use port scans, which send messages to each port in a network, to look at where that network is strong or weak. Different types of port scans include a regular or "vanilla" port scan where the scanner sends out communications to all of the ports in a system. Where this is not practical, administrators can use more specific types of scans like a strobe scan, stealth scan or other technique.

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Justin Stoltzfus is an independent blogger and business consultant assisting a range of businesses in developing media solutions for new campaigns and ongoing operations. He is a graduate of James Madison University.Stoltzfus spent several years as a staffer at the Intelligencer Journal in Lancaster, Penn., before the merger of the city’s two daily newspapers in 2007. He also reported for the twin weekly newspapers in the area, the Ephrata Review and the Lititz Record.More recently, he has cultivated connections with various companies as an independent consultant, writer and trainer, collecting bylines in print and Web publications, and establishing a reputation…