15 Best Network Scanning Tools (IP Scanner) for Network Security

Best Network Scanning (IP Scanner) Tools for Increased Network Security:

The network is a vast term in the world of technology. The network is known as the backbone of the telecommunication system which is used to share data and resources using data link.

The next term that comes into the frame is Network Security. Network Security consists of a set of rules, policies, and instructions that are accepted to monitor and prevent the misuse and unauthorized manipulation of a network.

Network scanning deals with Network Security and this is an activity that identifies network vulnerabilities and the loopholes to safeguard your network from unwanted and unusual behavior that can harm your system. It can harm even your personal and confidential information.

Most Useful Network Scanning Tools

This article will brief you about the most popular Network Scanning Tools that are available in the market along with their official links and key features for your easy understanding.

What is Network Scanning?

Network Scanning is a process which can be defined in many ways, it identifies the active hosts (Clients and servers) on a network and their activities to attack a network. It is also being used by attackers to hack the system.

This procedure is used for system maintenance and security assessment of a network.

In short, Network Scanning process includes:

  • Identifying filtering systems between two active hosts on a network.
  • Running UDP and TCP network services.
  • Detect TCP Sequence Number of both the hosts.

Network Scanning also refers to Port Scanning in which the data packets are sent to a specified port number.

Most Popular Network Scanning Tools

Here, we are going to review some of the Network Scanning Tools which are widely used to detect network vulnerabilities.

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#1) OpenVAS:

openvas

Key Features:

  • The Open Vulnerability Assessment System(OpenVAS) is a free network security scanning tool.
  • Many components of OpenVAS are licensed under GNU General Public License.
  • The major component of OpenVAS is the Security Scanner which runs in Linux environment only.
  • It can be integrated with Open Vulnerability Assessment Language (OVAL) to write vulnerability tests.
  • Scanning options provided by OpenVAS are:
    • Full scan: Full network scanning.
    • Web server scan: For web server and web applications scanning.
    • WordPress Scan: For WordPress vulnerability and WordPress web server issues.
  • Proven as a powerful network vulnerability scanning tool with an intelligent custom scan.

Official Link: OpenVAS

#2) Wireshark:

wireshark

Key Features:

  • Wireshark is an open source tool which is known as multi-platform network protocol analyzer.
  • It scans data vulnerabilities on a live network between the active client and server.
  • You can view network traffic and follow the network stream.
  • Wireshark runs on Windows, Linux as well on OSX.
  • It shows the stream construction of TCP session and includes tshark which is a tcpdump console version (tcpdump is a packet analyzer that runs on a command line).
  • The only issue with Wireshark is that it has suffered from Remote Security Exploitation.

Official Link: Wireshark

#3) Nikto:

nikto

Key Features:

  • It is an open source web server scanner.
  • It performs rapid testing to recognize suspicious behavior on the network along with any network program that can exploit network traffic.
  • Some of the best features of Nikto are:
    • Full HTTP proxy support.
    • Customized reporting in XML, HTML and CSV formats.
  • Scanning features of Nikto are updated automatically.
  • It checks for HTTP servers, web server options and server configurations.

Official Link: Nikto

#4) Angry IP Scanner:

angryipscanner

Key Features:

  • It is a free and open source network scanning utility with the ability to scan IP address and also performs port scan effectively and rapidly.
  • The scan report consists of information such as hostname, NetBIOS (Network Basic Input/Output System), MAC address, computer name, workgroup information etc.
  • Report generation is in CSV, Txt and/or XML format.
  • It is based on Multi-threaded Scanning approach which is a separate scanning thread for each individual IP address, helps to improve the scanning process.

Official Link: Angry IP Scanner

#5) Advanced IP Scanner:

advanceipscanner

Key Features:

  • It is a free and open source network scanning tool that works in Windows environment.
  • It can detect and scan any device on a network including wireless devices.
  • It allows services Viz. HTTPS, RDP etc. and FTP services on the remote machine.
  • It performs multiple activities such as remote access, remote wake-on-LAN and quick shut down.

Official Link: Advanced IP Scanner

#6) Qualys Freescan:

qualys

Key Features:

  • Qualys Freescan is a free and open source network scanning tool that provide scans for URLs, Internet IPs and local servers to detect security loopholes.
  • There are 3 types being supported by Qualys Freescan:
    • Vulnerability checks: For malware and SSL related issues.
    • OWASP: Web applications security checks.
    • SCAP checks: Checks computer network configuration against Security Contents i.e.; SCAP.
  • Qualys Freescan allows only 10 free scans. Hence, you cannot use it for regular network scan.
  • Helps to detect network issues and security patches to get rid of it.

Official Link: Qualys Freescan

#7) SoftPerfect Network Scanner:

softperfect1

Key Features:

  • It is a freeware network scanning utility with advanced scanning features known as Multi-thread IPv4/IPv6 Scanning.
  • Provides information such as hostname, MAC address that is connected to LAN network based on SNMP, HTTP, and NetBIOS.
  • It also collects information about local and external IP address, remote wake-on-LAN and shut down.
  • Helps to enhance the network performance and identifies the working state of devices on a network to check the availability a network.
  • This tool is proven good for the multi-protocol environment.

Official Link: SoftPerfect Network Scanner

#8) Retina Network Security Scanner:

beyondtrust's retina network security scanner

Key Features:

  • Beyond Trust’s Retina Network Security Scanner is a vulnerability scanner and solution that also provides security patch for Microsoft, Adobe, and Firefox applications.
  • It is a standalone network vulnerability scanner that supports risk assessment based on optimal network performance, Operating System, and applications.
  • It is a free tool which requires Windows server that provides security patches free up to 256 IPs.
  • This tool performs scanning as per the credentials provided by the user and also allows a user to choose the type of report delivery.

Official Link: Retina Network Security Scanner


#9) Nmap:

nmap

Key Features:

  • Nmap as the name suggests, it maps your network and its ports numerically hence it is also known as Port Scanning Tool.
  • Nmap comes with NSE (Nmap Scripting Engine) scripts to detect network security issues and misconfiguration.
  • It is a free tool that checks for host availability by examining the IP packets.
  • Nmap is a complete suite that is available in GUI and CLI( Command Line Interface) version.
  • It includes the following utilities:
    • Zenmap with advanced GUI.
    • Ndiff for computer scan results.
    • NPing for Response Analysis.

Official Link: Nmap

#10) Nessus:

nessus

Key Features:

  • It is a widely used network security scanner that works with UNIX system.
  • The tool was formerly free and open source but now it is available as a commercial software.
  • The free version of Nessus is available with limited security features.
  • Major security features of Nessus includes:
    • Web-based interface
    • Client-Server architecture
    • Remote and local security checks
    • Built-in plug-ins
  • Nessus today is available with 70,000+ plug-ins and services/functionalities such as malware detection, web application scanning, and system configuration check etc.
  • The advance feature of Nessus is automated scanning, multi-network scanning, and asset discovery.
  • Nessus is available with 3 versions which include Nessus Home, Nessus Professional, and Nessus Manager/Nessus Cloud.

Official Link: Nessus

#11) Metasploit Framework:

metasploit

Key Features:

  • This tool was primarily a Penetration Testing Tool but now it is being used as Network Scanning Tool that detects network exploit.
  • It was an open-source tool initially but in 2009 it was acquired by Rapid7 and got introduced as a commercial tool.
  • An open-source and free edition is available with limited security features known as Community Edition.
  • Advance edition of Metasploit is available as Express Edition and full-featured edition as Pro Edition.
  • Metasploit Framework includes Java-based GUI whereas Community Edition, express, and Pro Edition include web-based GUI.

Official Link: Metasploit Framework

#12) Snort:

snort

Key Features:

  • Snort is known as free and open-source network intrusion detection and prevention system.
  • It analyses network traffic with IP address passing through it.
  • Snort is able to detect worm, port scan and other network exploit through protocol analysis and content searching.
  • Snort uses Modular Detection Engine and Basic Analysis along with Security Engine(BASE) to describe network traffic.

Official Link: Snort

#13) OpenSSH:

openssh

Key Features:

  • SSH(Secure Shell) helps to establish secure and encrypted communication over an insecure network link between untrusted hosts.
  • OpenSSH is an open-source tool dedicated to UNIX environment.
  • Access internal network using a single point access through SSH.
  • It is known as Premier Connectivity Tool that encrypts the network traffic and eliminates network issues like eavesdropping, untrusted connection and connection hijacking between two hosts.
  • Provides SSH tunneling, server authentication, and secure network configuration.

Official Link: OpenSSH

#14) Nexpose:

nexpose

Key Features:

  • Nexpose is a commercial network scanning tool that is available free as its Community Edition.
  • It comes with scanning capabilities of the network, operating systems, application database etc.
  • Provides web-based GUI that can be installed on Windows and Linux operating systems and even on virtual machines.
  • Nexpose Community Edition includes all solid features to analyze the network.

Official Link: Nexpose

#15) Fiddler:

fiddler

Key Features:

  • Fiddler by Telerik is popular as Web Debugging Tool that analyzes HTTP traffic.
  • Fiddler scans traffic between chosen computers over a network and analyzes sent and received data packets to monitor request and response between hosts.
  • Fiddler can decrypt HTTP traffic and is also being used for system performance and security testing of web applications.
  • Comes with the feature to capture the HTTP traffic automatically and allows you to choose processes for which you want to capture the HTTP traffic.

Official Link: Fiddler

Few other tools

Apart from these tools, there are many other tools that are being used for scanning the network traffic.

Let us take a quick look at them.

#16) Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector:

It quickly examines Wi-Fi network with all its vulnerabilities. It is a powerful tool to troubleshoot Wi-Fi issues. Helps to check integrity and performance of your Wi-Fi network

#17) GFI LanGuard:

This commercial tool is used to scan small as well as large networks. Runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS. This tool allows analyzing your network state from any location at any time.

#18) Total Network Monitor:

This tool monitors local network with working hosts and services on it. It reports you with colors such as Green for the successful result, Red for negative and black for an incomplete process.

#19) MyLanViewer Network/IP Scanner:

It is a popular tool for network IP scanning Wake-On-LAN, remote shutdown and NetBIOS. It is a user- friendly tool that represents your network state in an easy to analyze way.

#20) Splunk:

It is a data collection and analysis utility that collects and analyzes data such as TCP/UDP traffic, services and event logs on a network to notify you when your network catches up with some issues.

#21) NetXMS:

The open -source tool works in a multi-platform environment and its major feature is that it supports multiple operating systems, databases and performs analysis on a distributed network.

It provides a web-based interface along with the management console and is known as Network Management and Monitoring System.

#22) NetworkMiner:

NetworkMiner is Network Forensic Analysis Tool (NFAT) for Windows, Linux and Mac OS. Gathers information about live ports, hostname, and works as Packet Capture Tool or Passive Network Sniffer.

The tool helps to perform Advance Network Traffic Analysis (NTA).

#23) Icinga2:

This is a Linux based open source network monitoring tool which is used to examine network availability and notify the users about network issues. Icinga2 provides business intelligence for in-depth and detailed analysis of the network.

#24) Capsa Free:

Monitors and analyzes network traffic and help to resolve network issues. Supports 300 network protocols and provides customized report system.

#25) PRTG Network Monitor Freeware:

Monitors network ability and usage based on a protocol such as SNMP and provides a web-based interface. Possesses feature like detailed reporting, flexible alert system, and comprehensive network monitoring but the tool is limited up to 10 sensors only.

Conclusion

Network monitoring is a crucial activity to prevent any network from intrusions. Network Scanning Tools can make this task a much easier one. Rapid scanning of networks issues make us aware of the future influence of network attacks and helps us to prepare a prevention plan to avoid them.

In Today’s world, each and every major software industry working on online perspective makes use of Network Scanning Tools to prepare their system stand on a network without losing its performance due to network attacks, which, in turn, makes the users to trust the system.

In this article, we have reviewed the most popular and widely used network scanning tools. There may be much more apart from these. You can choose the best suitable for your system according to your network behavior to overcome network issues.

Tools will definitely help you to prevent your network from intrusions through its loopholes.

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