Definitions and Descriptions.
Nmap (Network Mapper) is an open source network security tool used for network exploration and security auditing. Its primary purpose is to detect active network connections and services as well as hosts and operating systems that are running on the network. Nmap can be used to perform port scans, run intrusion detection systems, identify system vulnerabilities, and more. It is often used as a tool for security professionals to gain an understanding of their networks or to detect and analyze suspicious activity.
For example, an administrator may run a Nmap scan to see what machine addresses, ports, and services are available on the network and afterwards use this information to configure a firewall. For instance, they may block or limit access to ports they do not trust or use to improve the security of their network.
Another example is using Nmap to detect hosts on the network. This can be helpful for identifying potential intruders or for tracking down machines that are not visible to the network due to being outside of the allowed range. In addition, Nmap can be used to look for open ports and services running on those ports so the security team can investigate further what is running and if any potential threats are present.
Nmap can also be used for vulnerability scanning to detect potential security issues. For example, a scan can be used to determine if services and services versions that are vulnerable to known threats are running on the network. This allows the security team to take appropriate and timely action to fix or mitigate the issue.
Finally, Nmap can be used to run operating system fingerprinting to detect what operating system is running on a given machine. This can help identify possible malicious activity or detect compromised machines on the network.