Everything You Need to Know About Network Discovery Tools

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Network Discovery Tools

Posted by Rahul Gupta
Network Discovery Tool is unlike your WiFi scanner on your phone. The way the term is arranged might confuse people with the WiFi scanner. However, Network Discovery Tool is more technical and complicated compared to the regular WiFi scanner. A Network Discovery Tool or Software scans a particular Network and identifies all the devices connected to that network using a Protocol. 
Network Discovery Tools
The tools of such kind scan a wide range of IP addresses to find the live devices within that network. Quite surprisingly such tools could fetch the Wired as well Wireless connection. In order to complete a successful search, the Network Discovery Tools identify the subnet mask in addition to the IP address if the resource since there are different types of devices connected to the network. 

With all the general introduction and definition aside, the important aspect of any product is it's working and the pros. Network Discovery Tools work by scanning a particular IP address to search for any wired or wireless connection. Hence the working methodology is simple and effective. The Network Discovery Tool can be used to discover the general network topology as well. Generally, there are three types or levels of Network Discovery. 

1. Topology

Here the Network Discovery Tool search IP addressable resources like Subnets and Routers by using SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol). 

2. Topology and Client

This level search for potential clients like Computers, Printers, and Routers. This level uses SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol), Windows Browser and DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). 

3. Topology, Client and Client Operating Systems

The most advanced level where the tool efficiently searches for Topology, Clients as well as the Client Operating Systems. Here the Network Discovery Tool determine the name and version of the Computer Operating Systems using SNMP(Simple Network Management Protocol), Windows Browser, DHCP(Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) and Windows Networking Calls. 

So why is this particular piece of technology popular and widely used? The answer lies in its applications and efficiency. A Network Discovery Tool can provide huge heaps of information which include but not limited to NetBIOS name, IP addresses,  Resource domain, System roles, SNMP community name, MAC addresses. For professional hackers, Network Discovery Tool is more like a piece of the puzzle that completes a path. 

Using this effective tool, a hacker can find a live host in a Network. By using this tool a hacker can generate an accurate map of the Internal Network. More applications include capturing packets from a target network, altering a device IP and making required changes in the network, and bringing down an entire chain of the network by simply flooding the network with packets.

Some of the top Network Discovery Tools or Network Scanners are enlisted below. 

1. Cacti 

Cacti is an open source software that facilitates Network Monitoring and Graphing solution which is designed to harness the power of RRDTool’s data storage and graphing functionality. Mostly used to monitor a Network by polling a Network switch using a Simple Network Management Protocol or SNMP. 

2. Nmap 

Nmap is yet another free and open source for Network Discovery and security auditing. Nmap is the most preferred tool on the internet. It checks and finalizes the Operating System within minutes. But that's not all, Nmap's capability can be extended by using scripts. This makes it adapt to network conditions like latency and congestion during a scan. 

3. Open Audit 

This free and open source software is widely used for network discovery, inventory and audit programming. The high efficiency and quick response is a reward for its popularity. It scans and stores all the relevant retrieved Information for future references. It also provides a framework to generate reports on software licensing, configuration changes and non-authorized devices.

4. Overlook

A Network Monitoring and Discovery Tool that works on both Desktop as well as Mobile, Overlook is preferred for its compatibility. It provides visibility to devices which are currently on the network, giving the user a look into IP and MAC addresses, device vendors, and ISP location. The application comes for free however there is a paid version of the service. This paid service offers advanced monitoring and analysis tools which are built on the discovery engine.

5. Spiceworks

Spiceworks is a tool that not only discovers a Network but also provides an interactive network diagram to analyze the network better. The diagram offers useful information on a bandwidth and other important aspects. 

With this information, I can guarantee you that you could single-handedly finish up a test or an exam. However, if you are curious to know more I encourage you to download any one of the aforementioned software(most of them are free), I bet you won't get disappointed. 

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