Netdiscover – Live Host Identification

Netdiscover – simple ARP Scanner to scan for live hosts in a network

Netdiscover is a simple ARP scanner which can be used to scan for live hosts in a network. It can scan for multiple subnets also. It simply produces the output in a live display(ncurse). This can be used in the first phases of a pentest where you have access to a network. Netdiscover is a simple and initial-recon tool which can be very handy.

Features:

  1. Simple Arp Scanner
  2. Works in both Active & Passive modes
  3. Produces a live display of identified hosts
  4. Able to scan multiple subnets
  5. Timing Options

Options:

  -i device: your network device
  -r range: scan a given range instead of auto scan. 192.168.6.0/24,/16,/8
  -l file: scan the list of ranges contained into the given file
  -p passive mode: do not send anything, only sniff
  -m file: scan the list of known MACs and host names
  -F filter: Customize pcap filter expression (default: "arp")
  -s time: time to sleep between each arp request (miliseconds)
  -n node: last ip octet used for scanning (from 2 to 253)
  -c count: number of times to send each arp reques (for nets with packet loss)
  -f enable fastmode scan, saves a lot of time, recommended for auto
  -d ignore home config files for autoscan and fast mode
  -S enable sleep time supression betwen each request (hardcore mode)
  -P print results in a format suitable for parsing by another program
  -N Do not print header. Only valid when -P is enabled.
  -L in parsable output mode (-P), continue listening after the active scan is completed

Lab: Simple Host discovery & Related Options

Netdiscover runs simply by calling executing the command in auto mode

Syntax: netdiscover <options>
netdiscover
Auto Mode

Specifying Range

We can scan a specific range with -r option

Syntax: netdiscover -r <range>

Command: netdiscover -r 192.168.1.0/24
netdiscover
Specifying Range

Multiple Ranges from a File

We can also scan for multiple ranges. This is useful when you have a large network with multiple subnets & networks. For this, simply we need specify all the ranges we want to scan in a file line-by-line

Syntax: netdiscover -l <file containing ranges>

Command: netdiscover -l ranges
netdiscover
File containing ranges to scan
netdiscover
Multiple Ranges

Passive Scanning

Sometimes it’s better to stay quiter. -p option helps on this but at the cost of patience.

Syntax: netdiscover -p -r <range,optional>
netdiscover
Passive Mode

Parsable Outputs

There is a parsable output option also in case you want to pipe it to a file.

Syntax: netdiscover -P<parsable> -N<ommit headers>

Command: netdiscover-r 192.168.1.1/24 -PN

netdiscover
Parsable Output

Conclusion

Netdiscover is a simple arp scanner which can be used to enumerate hosts. I would like to share with you one of my experience. Out of curiosity, I tried running the tool  in my company network. The network has a firewall & I am part of the monitoring team which needs to look for network traffic anomalies. So me & my team can get the info even if somebody is performing a ping between internal hosts. We have detected ping scans, web server scans with nikto etc from our internal network. So I had a clear idea about my target network. So I ran the tool in passive mode. It ran for about 7 hours & I got more than 100 IPs. I cross-checked this result with my monitoring tool and the numbers were about the same. But interestingly not even a single alert was generated from the monitoring tool. I also wondered why it didn’t detect that my interface was in promiscuous mode. So I got 2 major results out of this. One is that I got all the IPs in the network which were live over a period of time. The second is that my monitoring tool was not capable or was not configured to detect promiscuous interfaces in the network. So here are my suggestions.

  1. Never perform a scanning activity without having a clear knowledge of your network.
  2. As the Kali Linux slogan says “The quieter you are, the more you are able to hear”
  3. Use the results from such activities in a constructive way

So if you learned something new from this tutorial, please support me by sharing it with those whom this will benefit.

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