New Nmap probes IPv6 networks

Nmap version 6.0 features many significant enhancements, including full support for IPv6

Preparing for the eventual widespread conversion to IPv6, the Nmap Project has updated its namesake security scanning tool so it can scan IPv6 networks using a variety of novel techniques.

Nmap Security Scanner version 6.0 is the first major update for the free, open source security-testing tool since version 5 was released in 2009, and features some major updated and new features, as well as a variety of cosmetic changes and performance improvements. Overall, the project and associated volunteers have made more than 3,900 changes to the code base.

The project has timed the release of Nmap 6.0 to coincide with this year's World IPv6 Launch, in which a variety of Internet Service Providers and Web companies -- such as Comcast, AT&T, Facebook and Google -- pledge to offer IPv6 services. Organized by the Internet Society, World IPv6 Launch day will be held June 6 this year.

In addition to IPv6 support, the updated software comes with improvements to the scripting engine and the GUI (graphical user interface). It can also scan a network more quickly and deliver more information about Web hosts. It also comes with a new tool to generate packets and analyze results.

Nmap, short for Network Mapper, is a tool for gathering more information about all the nodes on a network. Although primarily designed for security testing, Nmap is also used by system administrators to inventory the resources on their networks. Using IP packets, it identifies what operating system a host uses, if there are firewalls in place, what ports are open, and a great deal of other related information.

Earlier versions of Nmap offered some IPv6 tools, namely port scans, basic host discovery, version detection, and use of the scripting engine. This release expands upon these capabilities offering a traceroute utility, a neighbor-discovery ping utility and the ability to detect operating systems.

Nmap also expands upon the number of ways that it can scan a IPv6 network. Because even a smaller network's IPv6 address space is too large to scan on a possible address-by-address basis, this software uses a number of novel techniques to find hosts, by clever use of multicasting, invalid header addresses, and other techniques.

Much work has been done on improving the Nmap Scripting Engine (NSE). NSE allows users to compose and run scripts that automate routine tasks, such as discovering hosts and querying devices for configuration information. The project has organized the underlying infrastructure for the engine, and added 289 scripts.

Nmap 6.0 also comes with a new tool called Nping that generates and sends out packets, as well as analyzes the results of how quickly hosts respond to these packets. It can be used to detect hosts on a network through a variety of different protocols. It can also be used to stress test networks and to better understand firewalls.

Nmap binaries are available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. Although it runs from the command line, Nmap also includes a GUI (Graphical User Interface) called Zenmap, which has been redesigned for this release.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender solutions stop attacks before they even begin! Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?