I always love staring at those network topology diagrams you see posted up in schools and online. Obviously if you physically setup and configured everything, plotting out servers, subnets, routers etc would be a breeze - But what tools do we have at our disposal to accurately and effectively map an unknown network?

Is it possible to fingerprint every piece of network hardware, every server, firewall, UTM device, proxy and associated ACL's/filters in a way that you could proudly display a detailed map on your bedroom wall?

  • Check out nmap.
    – user10211
    Nov 2, 2012 at 3:36

1 Answer 1


Typically for the network identification part of a pen test you will need to use a combination of tools.

  • nmap is a good start, showing all devices that have a response, along with what ports respond. The fingerprinting functionality nmap brings is also pretty good. Zenmap provides a cool graphical mapping front end, as @TerryChian commented.
  • p0f does some clever things to get around firewall and router obfuscation of the target OS
  • scapy also has good network discovery functionality
  • etherape - haven't used it but had a quick look as per @symcbean's comment. Worth a look to understand each node's purpose.

You may also want to look at SNMP tools to gain extra info on the hosts you find.

  • 1
    zenmap, the nmap gui also has a very cool (although not very useful) feature of actually graphically mapping out a network diagram based on scan results.
    – user10211
    Nov 2, 2012 at 9:10
  • Add etherape to your shopping list - it's useful for getting an idea of the roles of each node rather than the services available.
    – symcbean
    Nov 2, 2012 at 9:21
  • I'd add Maltego right to the top of that list. Its mapping capabilities are second to none, and it's got a whole host of other features for integrating social network mapping into your investigation stage.
    – Polynomial
    Nov 2, 2012 at 11:51

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