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Clarification: this is about scanning the network resources on computer B from computer A in a situation where:

  • Computer A is connected to Computer B through a USB cable
  • Computer A has some scanning software installed on it

This is about the feasibility of a USB-device that can scan the computer (that it is plugged into) for open Ethernet-accessible resources such as ports/shares/etc.

Presumably a USB device can include a DLL (well, or tell the OS to download a DLL) that can provide it access to the ports and shares.

But are these TCP/IP resources available to the scanning computer through USB without any special DLLs installed on the target computer?

Is it actually possible to enumerate the ports/shares/etc on a target PC simply by connecting to it through a USB cable?

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As far as I know there is no direct USB connectivity possible between two normal computers that is also usable at the same time as a network (which is what you need to scan). I don't even think that you can simply connect two PCs using a simple USB cable, since PC usually only support the USB host mode and with USB one device needs to be in host mode and the other in device mode. And to support USB device mode on a PC you not only need special software but also the hardware explicitly must support it.

  • There is a "usbnet" driver framework for Linux but it needs to be installed on the target PC. It might also require a specific USB cable like the UANC22V7 sold by Gembird (a European company). – coderworks Nov 2 '15 at 21:31
  • @coderworks: yes, you need special host-to-host cables which make it possible to have USB hosts on both sides of the cable. These have a microcontroller inside to translate the signals. There are also several of these cables who claim to be driverless on windows, but you still need the special cable and a normal USB cable will not work. – Steffen Ullrich Nov 2 '15 at 21:45

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