Scanning your network regularly is essential for ensuring the health of your network and devices. It helps to troubleshoot issues at an early stage. As we all know, cyberattacks are rising increasingly due to the rapid advancement in technology. The world is moving towards digitization, and criminals are using sophisticated ways to attack.

Hackers spy on networks and utilize vulnerability scanning tools to search for loopholes. A vulnerable network is prone to threats and causes serious damage to an organization’s reputation by compromising sensitive data. However, network scanning allows you to understand the devices running on your network to view how they are performing. 

In this article, we will understand the fundamentals of network scanning and then discuss the best network scanning tools to protect organizations’ networks. Let’s get started.

Here’s the table of content:

What is Network Scanning?

Network scanning refers to the identification of active hosts on a network. It involves several procedures that can help you identify the services and ports. In simple words, network scanning is a process of troubleshooting active devices on your network for vulnerabilities. 

It helps to identify and assess the connected devices by configuring features in the network protocol. Scanning helps you pick up vulnerability signals and send you feedback on the security status of the network.

Network scanning provides monitoring, system maintenance, and security assessments. When you implement network scanning effectively, it gives the best ways to protect your network against criminals.

Network scanning helps to:

  • Recognize the available TCP/UDP network services running on the targeted host.
  • Determine the operating systems in use by evaluating IP responses.
  • Recognize filtering systems between the targeted hosts and users.

10 Best Network Scanning Tools

For network managers, one of the challenging tasks is to manage the IP address. It becomes difficult when hundreds and thousands of networks are connected. However, vulnerability scanning tools play a vital role in IT security by automating security auditing and scanning your network and critical infrastructure. 

Here, we will discuss the best network scanning tools to help you inspect the network for vulnerabilities.

1. Nmap

Nmap or network mapper is a free and open-source tool for security auditing and network discovery. Many network and system administrators find this tool helpful for tasks, such as managing service upgrade schedules, network inventory, and monitoring host or service uptime. It uses raw IP packets to determine what hosts are available on the network, what operating systems they run, what services they offer, and what type of packet filters or firewalls are in use. Nmap is designed to scan large networks rapidly but works fine against single hosts.

Key Features

  • It supports dozens of advanced techniques to map out networks filled with firewalls, IP filters, routers, and other obstacles.
  • Nmap is used to scan huge networks of hundreds and thousands of machines.
  • It supports both a traditional command line and a graphical user interface to suit your preference.

Learn also: Port Scanning with Nmap.

2. Wireshark

Wireshark is the most widely-used network protocol analyzer worldwide. It provides deep insights into your network at a microscopic level, and it’s the most in practice standard across many non-profit and commercial enterprises, educational institutes, and government agencies. 

Key Features

  • Deep inspection of hundreds and thousands of protocols.
  • Standard three-pane packet browser.
  • Live capture and offline analysis?
  • It’s a multi-platform tool supporting Windows, macOS, Linux, NetBSD. FreeBSD, and more.
  • It has rich VoIP analysis.
  • Decryption support for several protocols, such as IPsec, SSL/TSL, SNMPv3, WEP, and WPA/WPA2.
  • Live data can be read from PPP/HDLC, Bluetooth, AT, IEEE 802.11, Ethernet, Token Ring, FDDI, Frame Relay, and more.
  • Supported on most platforms such as Linux, Windows and macOS.

3. Solarwinds Network Scanner

Solarwinds network scanning tool provides insights into your system. Its IP Address Manager (IPAM) works as a network scanner and is designed to automatically scan your entire network. Moreover, you can manage DNS servers, DHCP servers, subnets, IPv4, IPv6, and more using a single intuitive interface. 

Key Features

  • IPAM is built to scan your network automatically for providing visual insights into the real-time status of your LAN connections and devices.
  • Create and customize dynamic network maps to detect current and future issues.
  • Discover and map your network with SolarWinds to begin monitoring fault, performance, and availability for the devices in your network.
  • Create custom topology maps to detect the root cause of problems
  • Hop-by-hop analysis of on-premise or cloud applications or services.

4. Intruder

Intruder is an online vulnerability scanning tool that detects cyber security vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure to prevent data breaches. You can scan your privately and publicly accessible servers, websites, cloud systems, and endpoint devices via industry-leading scanning engines. Moreover, you can detect vulnerabilities, such as missing patches, misconfigurations, application bugs, and encryption weaknesses in unauthenticated areas.

Key Features

  • Automatically scan your network for new threats.
  • Get actionable results prioritized by context. 
  • Reduce your attack surface and save time analyzing results.
  • Provides high-quality reports that can help you sail through customer security questionnaire.
  • Provides effortless compliance and reporting like SOC2 and ISO27001.

5. Auvik

Auvik is cloud-based network management and monitoring tool with the capabilities of automatically detecting the distributed assets. It provides visibility to all devices in a network. Moreover, it provides automated performance and security updates.

Key features

  • Detect, prevent, and resolve network issues quickly.
  • Notify users with pre-configured monitoring and alerts.
  • Identify the root cause with up to date device logs.
  • Spot anomalies instantly with the traffic analysis tool.
  • Provide cloud-based secure network management.
  • Network data is encrypted using AES-256.

6. Syxsense

Syxsense network scanner is a complete security management package that is effortless to configure with a user-friendly interface. This tool is easy to run and effective in enhancing your network security. Moreover, it helps save time, money, and effort with automated scans. 

Key Features

  • Scan for security compliance violations.
  • Scan for software vulnerabilities.
  • Collaborate between security and IT teams.
  • Deploy OS and third-party patches.
  • Action tasks on devices for eliminating security risks.
  • Prioritize exposed risks related to your environment.
  • Lockdown insecure passwords.
  • Scan for brute force attack vectors.

7. OpenVAS

OpenVAS is a full-featured vulnerability assessment scanning tool. Its capabilities include authentic and inauthentic testing, various low-level and high-level internet and industrial protocols, a powerful internal programming language for implementing any vulnerability test, and performance tuning for large-scale scans. The scanner gets the tests for detecting vulnerabilities from the feed with a long history and regular updates.

Key Features

  • Many components of OpenVAS are licensed under the General Public License (GNU).
  • Security scanner is the major component of OpenVAS, which runs under a Linux environment only.
  • It can be integrated with OVAL to write vulnerability tests.
  • It is proven as a powerful network vulnerability scanner with an intelligent custom scan.

8. Nessus

Nessus provides complete visibility into your vulnerabilities. It’s a vulnerability assessment solution that gives you peace of mind in an ever-evolving security world. This tool is built with a deep understanding of how security practitioners work. Nessus features are designed to make vulnerability assessment easy, simple, and intuitive. It can be deployed on various platforms. 

Key Features

  • It’s a fully portable Virtual Assistant solution that can be deployed anywhere.
  • Nessus scans more technologies and uncovers more flaws than competing solutions.
  • It provides complete vulnerability scanning with unlimited assessment.
  • It identifies vulnerabilities that require attention with accurate, high-speed scanning and prioritizes vulnerabilities.

Final Words

Network scanning tools help identify the loopholes in a network and protect it from abnormal and unprecedented behavior posing a threat to the system. Checking networks for vulnerabilities provides the availability, performance metrics, and fault of your network devices.

In this article, we have discussed the best tools for network vulnerability scans . Quickly identifying vulnerabilities leads to quick measures to keep the network and devices protected against potential threats. Choose the best network scanning tool based on your requirements to overcome network issues.

Learn also: How to Capture Packets using Tcpdump.