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Network enumeration is a process that involves gathering information about a network such as the hosts, connected devices, along with usernames, group information and related data. Using protocols like ICMP and SNMP, network enumeration offers a better view of the network for either protection or hacking purposes.
Network enumeration tools scan ports to gather information. They may also fingerprint the operating system. All of these are done for the purpose of looking more closely at how a network is set up and how data traffic are handled.
Some IT specialists refer to network enumeration as part of “ethical hacking” for security work. Some vulnerability scanners may perform network enumeration to try to protect a computer system. The idea is that, with network enumeration, vulnerabilities can be discovered, which can then be used by network/system administrators to fix the system or by hackers to attack the same.