NMAP: The Simple Guide

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NMAP: The Simple Guide

Introduction to NMAP

NMAP, short for Network Mapper, is an indispensable open-source tool for network exploration and security auditing. Since its initial release in 1997 by Gordon Lyon, NMAP has become a staple in the cybersecurity and IT professional’s toolkit. It excels in scanning large networks rapidly, but it’s equally effective against single hosts. Utilizing raw IP packets in innovative ways, NMAP can discover hosts, services, operating systems, packet filters/firewalls, and numerous other characteristics.

More information on NMAP

NMAP can be found at the following web site NMAP.ORG, and can be installed directly on Linux using the local package manager like APT for debian based systems.


NMAP can be installed on most Linux distributions via package managers. For example, on Debian-based systems:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nmap

Why Use NMAP?

NMAP’s versatility makes it a preferred choice for a myriad of tasks:

  1. Network Inventory: Quickly enumerate devices on a network.
  2. Security Audits: Identify open ports and vulnerable services.
  3. Monitoring: Detect new devices or changes in network configuration.
  4. Firewall Testing: Verify that firewall rules are correctly implemented.
  5. Live Host Detection: Find active devices on the network.

Top Ten NMAP Scan Options

NMAP offers a plethora of scanning techniques, tailored to various needs and scenarios. Here are ten essential scan options:

  1. -sS (Stealth SYN Scan): Fast and covert, ideal for avoiding detection.
  2. -sT (Connect Scan): Completes TCP connections for a straightforward scan.
  3. -sU (UDP Scan): Targets UDP ports to uncover services like DNS or DHCP.
  4. -sV (Version Detection): Determines service and version information.
  5. -O (OS Detection): Attempts to identify the operating system of the target.
  6. -A (Aggressive Scan): Combines version detection, OS detection, and script scanning.
  7. -p- (Scan All Ports): Scans all 65535 ports for a comprehensive overview.
  8. –script (Script Scan): Utilizes NMAP’s scripting engine for advanced discovery.
  9. -Pn (No Ping): Skips discovery, scanning targets regardless of ping responses.
  10. –top-ports (Scan Top Ports): Focuses on the most commonly used ports for faster scanning.

Bash Scripts for NMAP Scans

Leverage the power of NMAP with these bash script examples, designed for Linux environments. Each script includes sudo for necessary permissions and outputs to a log file with verbose logging.

Fast Detection of Hosts

sudo nmap -sn -v -oN fastHostDetection.log

Complete Scan with OS and Service Version Detection

sudo nmap -A -v -oN completeScan.log

Version Detection Scan

sudo nmap -sV -v -oN versionDetectionScan.log

Aggressive Scan with Top Ports

sudo nmap -A --top-ports 100 -v -oN aggressiveTopPortsScan.log

No Ping Scan

sudo nmap -Pn -v -oN noPingScan.log


NMAP’s comprehensive capabilities make it an essential tool for network administrators, security professionals, and cybersecurity enthusiasts. Whether conducting a simple network inventory or engaging in detailed security assessments, NMAP provides the necessary tools to gather critical information and insights about network infrastructures.

Remember, always obtain proper authorization before conducting any scans to ensure compliance with laws and policies.

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