15 Best Network Scanning Tools for Network Security

Network Security, Security Testing

Wednesday May 15, 2019

Network, the most crucial aspect of the telecommunication system, is used to share data and resources using data link. When it comes to sharing of data and resources, security issue crops up.

To prevent and monitor threats like misuse and unauthorized manipulation of the network, Network Security comes into the picture which defines specific instructions, policies and a set of rules to do so.

Network scanning, a covenant of Network Security, identifies loopholes and vulnerabilities of the network to safeguard it from unprecedented and abnormal behavior that poses a threat to the system spoiling any confidential and personal information.

Network Scanning

For proper maintenance and assessment of the network security system, the following processes are carried out:

  • Detection of two active hosts on a network and identification of filtering systems between them
  • Scanning of frequently used TCP and UDP network services
  • Detection of TCP Sequence Number of both the hosts
  • Scanning and transfer of data packets to a specified port number

There are various Network Scanning Tools (IP and Network Scanner) intended for maintenance and assessment of a Network Security System.

The top 15 has been mentioned here:

1. Acunetix

2. OpenVas

3. Wireshark

4. Nikto

5. Angry IP Scanner

6. Advanced IP Scanner

7. Qualys Freescan

8. SoftPerfect

9. Retina Network Scanner

10. Nmap

11. Nessus

12. Metasploit Framework

13. Snort

14. OpenSSH

15. Nexpose

1) Acunetix


Acunetix Online is a fully automated versatile scanning tool which is able to identify and report on a plethora of known network threats and misconfigurations.

Key features:

  • Running services and open ports are discovered
  • Security of routers, firewalls, switches and load balancers is assessed
  • DNS zone relocation, weak passwords, weak SNMP community strings, and TLS/SSL ciphers, poorly configured Proxy Servers, are tested.
  • A comprehensive audit of network security over the audit of Acunetix web application is carried out by incorporating this tool with Acunetix online.

Website:  https://www.acunetix.com/

2) OpenVAS


Key Features:

  • The Open Vulnerability Assessment System (OpenVAS) tool is a free and reliable tool for scanning network security.
  • Lots of OpenVAS components are licensed under the General Public License or GNU.
  • The Security Scanner that comprises the key component of OpenVAS operates in Linux environment only.
  • OpenVAS can be incorporated with Open Vulnerability Assessment Language (OVAL) to note down vulnerability tests.
  • Scanning alternatives offered by OpenVAS are:
  • Full scanning of the entire network.
  • Scanning of the web server and web applications.
  • Scanning for WordPress vulnerability and WordPress web server issues.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform as a robust network vulnerability scanning tool with a smart customized approach.

Website: http://www.openvas.org/

3) Wireshark

Key Features:

  • As an open source tool, Wireshark has marked its utility as a network protocol analyzer capable of performing on various platforms.
  • Data vulnerabilities cropping up between the active client and server on a live network are scanned with this tool.
  • Network traffic can be viewed and the network stream can be pursued.
  • The Wireshark tool operates on Linux, Windows, as well as on OSX.
  • It demonstrates the stream development of TCP session and comprises tshark, a tcpdump support rendition (tcpdump is a packet analyzer operating on a command line).
  • Experience of Remote Security Exploitation is the lone issue with Wireshark tool.

Website: https://www.wireshark.org/

4) Nikto

Key Features:

  • Nikto functions as an open source web server scanner.
  • It performs fast testing to identify suspicious activities on the network along with other network programs capable of exploiting network traffic.
  • The most excellent highlights of Nikto are:
  • Full HTTP substitute support.
  • Reporting in HTML, XML, and CSV formats tailored as per requirement.
  • Scanning qualities of Nikto are refreshed automatically.
  • Web server options, HTTP servers, and server configurations are checked for.

Website: https://cirt.net/Nikto2

5) Angry IP Scanner

Ip scanner

Key Features:

  • It is a free and open source network scanning tool that scans IP address and also executes port scan successfully and swiftly
  • The scan report comprises of information like computer name, hostname, MAC address, NetBIOS (Network Basic Input/Output System), workgroup information, etc
  • The report can be generated in Txt, CSV, and/or XML format
  • It operates with a Multi-threaded Scanning approach where a different scanning thread for every individual IP address improves the scanning procedure

Website: https://angryip.org/download/#windows

6) Advanced IP Scanner

Key Features:

  • It is an open source and free network scanning tool that runs on Windows platform.
  • It has the capability to identify and scan any device on a network including remote gadgets.
  • It lets RDP, FTP and HTTPS services to run on the remote machine.
  • It carries out several actions like remote access, remote wake-on-LAN and a speedier shutdown.

Website: https://www.advanced-ip-scanner.com/

7) Qualys Freescan


Key Features:

  • Qualys Freescan is an open source and free network scanning tool that offers scans for local servers, Internet Protocols, and URLs to identify safety ambiguities.
  • Qualys Freescan supports three types of checks:
  • Vulnerability tests for SSL related issues and malware.
  • Tests network configuration against Security Contents i.e.; SCAP.
  • Qualys Freescan is capable of performing only 10 free scans. And therefore cannot be used for regular network scan.
  • It helps to differentiate network issues and security patches to dispose of it.

Website: https://freescan.qualys.com/freescan-front/


soft perfect

Key Features:

  • It is a free network scanning tool with a set of advanced Multi-thread IPv4/IPv6 scanning features.
  • It offers information like hostname and MAC address that is associated with LAN network derived from HTTP, SNMP, and NetBIOS.
  • It gathers information on local and external IP address, secluded wake-on-LAN and shut down.
  • It assists in improving the performance of the network and recognizes the working condition of devices on a network to check network availability.
  • This tool has a demonstrated utility for the multi-protocol environment.

Website: https://www.softperfect.com/

9) Retina Network Scanner


Key Features:

  • RN Scanner provides a security patch for Adobe, Microsoft, and Firefox applications.
  • It is an unconnected network vulnerability tool capable of supporting the assessment of threats derived from Operating System, finest network performance, and applications.
  • It is a free tool which runs on Windows server with the provision of security fixes free up to 256 IPs.
  • This tool performs user customized scanning simultaneously allowing the user to select the type of report delivery.

Website: https://www.beyondtrust.com/resources/datasheets/retina-network-security-scanner

10) Nmap


Key Features

  • Also known as Port scanning tool, Nmap maps the network and its ports numerically.
  • Nmap is associated with NSE (Nmap Scripting Engine) scripts to spot network security issues and misconfiguration.
  • It is a free tool that finds out host availability by verifying the IP packets.

Website: https://nmap.org/

11) Nessus

network scanning tools

Key Features:

  • It is an extensively applied network security scanner that runs in a UNIX system.
  • The tool which was earlier an open source and free software is now commercial software.
  • The free edition of Nessus is obtainable with limited security features.
  • The chief security highlights of Nessus consist of:
  • Web-based interface
  • Client-Server architecture
  • Remote and local security checks
  • Built-in plug-ins
  • Nessus tool is obtainable with 70,000+ plug-ins and services or functionalities like detection of malware, scanning of web application scanning, and checking of system configuration, etc.
  • Among the advanced features are multi-network scanning, automated scanning, and asset discovery.
  • Nessus is obtainable with 3 versions namely Nessus Professional, Nessus Home, and Nessus Manager/Nessus Cloud.

Website: https://www.tenable.com/lp/campaigns/19/try-nessus/

12) Metasploit Framework

network scanning tools

Key Features:

  • This Network Scanning Tool detects network exploit.
  • Although earlier it was an open-source tool, it is now a commercial tool.
  • An open-source and free edition known as Community Edition is also available but that comes with limited security features.
  • The advance edition is obtainable as Express Edition while the full-featured edition is obtainable as Pro Edition.
  • GUI for Metasploit Framework is Java-based whereas GUI for Community Edition, express, and Pro Edition is web-based.

Website: https://www.metasploit.com/

13) Snort

network scanning tools

Key Features:

  • Short is a free and open-source tool that detects network intrusion and prevents system.
  • Snort analyses network traffic with an ongoing IP address.
  • It is able to spot port scan, worm, and other networks exploit by means of content searching and protocol analysis.

14) OpenSSH

network scanning tools

Key Features:

  • SSH (Secure Shell) assists in setting up safe and encrypted contact over an insecure network link between unreliable hosts.
  • OpenSSH is an open-source tool and runs in a UNIX environment.
  • The Internal network can be accessed using single point access through SSH.
  • As a Premier Connectivity Tool, it encrypts the network traffic and eradicates network issues like eavesdropping, unreliable connection and connection usurping between two hosts.
  • The tool provides server authentication, SSH tunneling, and secure network configuration.

Website: https://www.openssh.com/

15) Nexpose

network scanning tools

Key Features:

  • Nexpose is a commercial network scanning tool while its Community Edition is available free.
  • It is capable of scanning network capabilities, operating systems, application database, etc.
  • The tool offers web-based GUI that can be set up on Linux and Windows operating systems, including virtual machines as well.
  • Community Edition of Nexpose comprises of all robust features for network analysis.

Website: https://www.rapid7.com/products/nexpose/


Network Scanning Tools can convert crucial task of prevention of network intrusion a much easier one. Swift and incessant scanning of networks issues help us to arrange a prevention plan to get rid of them.

Today, all major software industries functioning on online viewpoint makes use of Network Scanning Tools to prevent network attacks.



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