Home » Cyber Security » Network Security » best free network scanning tools

21 Best Network Scanning Tools For Hunting Vulnerabilities On Network

Last Updated |
Disclosure: All of our articles are unbased, well researched, and based on a true picture of the story. However we do sometimes get commissions from affiliate sites. Our readers get the best discount from buying from our links. Here is our complete affiliate disclosure.

21 Best Network Scanning Tools For Hunting Vulnerabilities

Looking for the best network scanning tools is not easy, especially if you’re using it first. Here is a quick overview of the top-rated options:

Quick List of network Scanners

  1. WireShark: Free network protocol analyzer capable of analyzing wired and wireless networks data.
  2. Nmap: It is a free and open-source network scanner popular among security professionals.
  3. NetScanTools Pro: It is a simple network scanner that identifies devices connected to your network.
  4. ntop Scanning Tools: A free open source network monitoring tool used to visualize traffic on a network.
  5. Angry IP Scanner: It is a fast and lightweight network scanner that scans local and remote networks.
  6. Fing: A cross-platform network scanner scans your network for devices, services, and vulnerabilities.
  7. ManageEngine: It provides detailed information about devices connected to your network.
  8. Advanced IP Scanner: It can scan large networks quickly and efficiently.
  9. Acunetix: It is a commercial network scanning tool designed to detect vulnerabilities in web applications.
  10. OpenVAS: It is free to use and can be integrated with (OVAL) to write new security tests.
  11. Qualys FreeScan: It is an open-source scanning tool that offers three types of scans for multiple vulnerabilities.
  12. Nikto: It provides rapid testing to identify any suspicious activity in the network.
  13. Retina Network Security: It is free to use and provides security patches for up to 256 IPs.
  14. SoftPerfect: It provides information such as hostname, MAC address, and details regarding the LAN connection.
  15. Nessus: It has built-in plugins which allow it to detect over 50,000 vulnerabilities.
  16. Snort: It is free to use and analyzes the IP address, along with the traffic passing through the network.
  17. Nexpose: It is a commercial tool that scans networks, operating systems, application databases.
  18. OpenSSH: It creates a secure connection over an unsafe network link by encrypting it.
  19. Paessler PRTG: It allows you to know about your device bandwidth and apps using the source of bottlenecks. 
  20. Skyboxsecurity: It is a commercial network security scanning tool designed to detect vulnerabilities in your network.
  21. Site24x7: A free tool for monitoring the overall health of devices to the network.
  22. SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper: It is a tool for visualizing your network and connected devices.

Within a network, a compromised device or vulnerable device can disrupt your network security in the long run. Similarly, faulty or vulnerable applications lacking appropriate endpoint security can serve as a hazard to your digital security and data privacy. It is, therefore, crucial to deploy the use of some of the best network scanning tools. These tools allow you to scan your network for devices and detect possible vulnerabilities that a threat actor might exploit.

Since there are a plethora of network security vulnerabilities lurking over the cyber threat landscape, there is no “one tool fits all” available for network security. Therefore depending upon the need and use, you must identify the best network security tools that fit your need. While network scanning is somewhat of a complex task, such tools can make it a lot easier. 

How to Choose The Best Network Scanning Tool?

When choosing a network scanning tool for vulnerabilities, it is essential to consider your needs and requirements. Each tool has its own set of features, so you need to make sure the tool you choose has the features you need. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a network scanner:

  • Purpose: since every network scanning tool has different features, serving a different purpose it is crucial to choose a tool that fits best to your needs. 
  • Features: it is crucial that you choose a tool that offers exceptional features, making network scanning an easy task. 
  • Ease of use: since network scanning is already somewhat of an arduous task, it is crucial that the tool you chose is user-friendly. 
  • Price: while it is reasonable to invest in crucial things such as network scanning, it is best to choose a tool that is not too heavy on the pocket. 

Once you have determined your requirements and factors, you can start looking at specific network scanners. 

21 Best Network Scanning Tools In 2022

While a basic overview of these tools can help you get the basic gist of them. It is best to take a deeper look into the best network vulnerabilities scanning tools, including their pros and cons so you can make an informed decision:

1. WireShark

wireshark scanning tool
  • Wireshark is an open-source network scanner.
  • It can work on an active or live network, between the client and the server.
  • Users can view the network traffic and follow the stream.
  • Wireshark shows the users the stream of traffic construction of the TCP session.
  • Wireshark can run on multiple Operating systems including Linux, Windows, etc.
  • The only drawback of using Wireshark is that in the past, it has suffered from Remote Security Exploitation.

WireShark is one of the most popular options for network scanning. It is a free network protocol analyzer that can be used to analyze data from both wired and wireless networks.

One of the main advantages of WireShark is its ability to capture packets of data. It allows you to monitor your network activity enabling you to identify possible security risks. WireShark also includes several features that make it easy to troubleshoot network issues, such as filters and color-coding.

On the other hand, WireShark is suitable for use on virtually any system because it includes official Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux versions. So no matter what type of device you are using to connect to your network, WireShark will work for you. It also comes with support for the Wireshark protocol, which means that you can use it for debugging when connecting to other devices in your network.

However, WireShark can be a bit complex to use, and it can take some time to learn how to use all of its features. Additionally, it can be quite resource-intensive, so it may not be suitable for use on devices with limited processing power.

2. Nmap

Nmap is a free and open-source network scanner
  • Nmap maps the network, and it ports numerically, which is why it is also known as ‘The Port Scanning Tool.’
  • Nmap integrates the NSE-Nmap Scripting Engine which detects network security issues.
  • Nmap checks for the availability of hosts by analyzing the IP packets.
  • It includes many additional utilities such as Zenmap with advanced GUI, Ndiff for computer scan, and NPing for Response Analysis.
  • It is free and available for use.

Nmap is a free and open-source network scanner popular among security professionals. It can scan local and remote networks for devices, services, and vulnerabilities. It collects information by sending raw packets to the system ports. Moreover, it determines whether the ports are open, closed, or filtered somehow. Furthermore, it uses scripting engine scripts to identify network security issues and misconfigurations.  

The best part of Nmap is its ability to scan large networks. It includes various features like wireless infrastructure monitoring that allow you to detect security issues, such as vulnerable ports. Also, it comes with an official GUI (graphical user interface) and the command-line interface version

However, there are a few drawbacks to using this tool. It can take longer to complete the command if you don’t limit your scan range. In addition, some users often feel like the network scanning tool should include more built-in tools. 

3. NetScanTools Pro

3. NetScanTools Pro
  • capable of scanning both local and remote networks
  • can perform ping sweeps and port scans
  •  includes essential network testing tools to perform speed tests
  • can be used with a packet sniffer for more detailed information
  • It is not a free tool and costs $249

NetScanTools Pro is a simple yet powerful network scanner that makes it easy to quickly identify devices connected to your network. It is capable of scanning both local and remote networks and can detect wireless and wired devices. This includes devices connected via Ethernet, wireless, VPN (Virtual Private Network), modem dial-up, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), or Bluetooth.

Moreover, NetScanTools Pro can perform ping sweeps and port scans to identify running services on detected devices. The tool can be used with a packet sniffer for more detailed information about intercepted packets. It also includes essential network testing tools to perform speed tests and check your network’s bandwidth usage.

As it is not a free tool to use, you can get it for $249 for a single-use and install it on your device or laptop. Some users aren’t comfortable paying this amount and that’s why they drift away from using it. 

4. ntop Scanning Tools

4. ntop Scanning Tools
  •  free open source network monitoring tool 
  •  can show all the data passing through a network in real-time
  • helps identify suspicious or unexpected behavior on your network
  • Has the  ability to track individual connections between devices on your network
  • Contains an HTTP proxy server and port scanner
  • can be very resource-intensive
  • Comes with a  built-in web browser

ntop is a free open source network monitoring tool that can be used to visualize traffic on a network. It can show all the data passing through a network in real-time, which allows it to identify issues more quickly than many other tools.

It helps identify suspicious or unexpected behavior on your network. You can set up ntop to alert you when certain types of activity are detected via email, SMS (Short Message Service), or instant messaging programs such as MSN Messenger.

One of the main advantages of ntop is its ability to track individual connections between devices on your network. This gives you insight into what people on your network are doing, which makes it ideal for monitoring the activity of employees on a corporate network.

ntop also includes several helpful features, such as an HTTP proxy server and port scanner, that make it more versatile than many other network monitoring tools. However, ntop can be very resource-intensive, primarily when monitoring large networks. In addition, its open-source nature means that it is not as simple to use as some commercial options, and its built-in web browser can be difficult to navigate for specific tasks.

5. Angry IP Scanner

5. Angry IP Scanner

Angry IP Scanner is a fast and open-source network scanning tool, with the following features:

  • Angry IP Scanner scans the IP address, as well as performs a port scan.
  • It provides thorough reports on the flaws in the network in various formats, such as XML, CSV, Txt, etc.
  • The report provided by Angry IP Scanner is precise and includes information on many things such as the hostname, computer name, NetBIOS, MAC address, workgroup information, etc.
  •  Unlike other networking tools, Angry IP Scanner provides a separate thread for each individual IP address.

Angry IP Scanner is a free and open-source network scanner popular among system administrators. The most impressive thing about Angry IP Scanner is its speed, as it can scan large networks quickly and efficiently. It also comes with a graphical user interface, making it easy to use for both novices and experts alike.

This network scanning tool pings each IP address to see the hostname analyzes the MAC address and ports. Unlike other tools, it uses the multi-threading scanning approach that’s a separate scanning thread for each IP address and helps in improving the scanning process. 

The Angry IP Scanner comes with impressive features like favorite IP address ranges, customizable openers, NetBIOS information, and web server detection. The most significant drawback of using this tool is that it has no predefined IP address range, and users have to insert the IP address range manually. Also, the IP scans are not as effective as the paid tools. 

6. Fing

6. Fing
  • free network scanner
  • uses both ping sweeps and port scans to detect devices.
  • blocks privacy intruders 
  • detect the weak and vulnerabilities in your router and prevent remote access.
  • takes less time to identify all the devices within a network
  • the tool doesn’t offer a 24/7 live chat support feature
  • The tool offers a free option and a premium plan starting with $4.99 per month.

Fing is a free network scanner that allows you to scan networks, perform a speed test, discover connected devices, and troubleshoot device and network issues. It uses both ping sweeps and port scans to detect devices.

Also, It is one of the best network scanning tools that offer various security-enhancing features such as Wi-Fi protection, security alerts, track user presence, and manual network scanning. It also blocks privacy intruders by receiving notifications of any unknown device within your network and automatically blocks them. Besides this, it detects the weak and vulnerable in your router and prevents remote access.

Fing is the most preferred choice of the users because it takes less time to identify all the devices within a network and efficiently compiles a list. The list helps you to view details of the devices and add notes for them, so it’s easy to keep a check on them in the future. However, the tool doesn’t offer a 24/7 live chat support feature, which disappoints the users the most. 

The network scanning tool offers a premium plan starting at $4.99 per month. You can use it and enjoy the extra benefits and features missing in the free plan. 

7. ManageEngine

7. ManageEngine
  • commercial network scanner
  • allows you to quickly identify the devices connected to your network
  •  can scan network subnets easily
  • comes with a graphical user interface
  • Is somewhat unstable on Windows Server 2003 systems
  • It is one of the most expensive options on the market

ManageEngine is a commercial network scanner that allows you to quickly identify the devices connected to your network. It uses both ping sweeps and port scans to detect devices.

One of the main advantages of ManageEngine is that it includes several features that allow you to detect security issues, such as vulnerable ports. Additionally, ManageEngine can scan network subnets easily, making it ideal for more complex networks with multiple devices connected to them.

ManageEngine also comes with a graphical user interface, making it easy to use for both novices and experts alike. However, one downside of ManageEngine is its price tag. It is one of the most expensive options on the market. Also, it can be somewhat unstable on Windows Server 2003 systems.

8. Acunetix 

8. Acunetix 
  • Does a security test for routers, firewalls, switches, load balancers, as well as other components of a network
  • Discovers open ports and running services
  • Searches for problems such as poorly configured Proxy servers, weak passwords, weak SNMP community strings, TLS/SSL ciphers through a detailed analysis of the system.
  • It provides a comprehensive perimeter network audit.
  • It is free for one year of its use, which makes it pretty affordable.

Acunetix is a commercial network scanning tool designed to detect vulnerabilities in web applications. It uses various methods, including spidering and fuzzing, to find these vulnerabilities. Additionally, Acunetix can be used to scan for SQL injections and cross-site scripting attacks.

However, one downside of Acunetix is that it does not include features for basic services detection or port scanning. Also, it is difficult to use; without proper training, it can take a long time to learn how to use Acunetix.

9. Advanced IP Scanner

9. Advanced IP Scanner

Advanced IP scanner is an advanced network scanner with the following features:

  • It’s an open-source network scanning tool that runs on Windows.
  • It is free to use.
  • It can scan devices connected to a network- including wireless devices.
  • Advanced IP Scanner performs many functions such as remote access, remote wake-on-LAN, quickly shut down, etc.
  • It allows services such as Viz. HTTPS, RDP, etc., and FTP services.

Its a free and open-source network scanning tool that works on the Windows platform. It can easily detect and scan devices on your network and perform multiple activities such as quickly shut down, remote access, and remote wake-on LAN. 

The best part of Advanced-IP-Scanner is that it doesn’t require any installation process, and thus any non-technical person can also use it easily. However, although it is easy to use, it does not come with a built-in help manual and has stability issues.

10. OpenVAS

10. OpenVAS

According to its website, OpenVAS is a full-featured vulnerability scanner. Its key features are:

  • Entirely free to use.
  • OpenVAS can be integrated with Open Vulnerability Assessment Language (OVAL) to write new security tests.
  • OpenVAS provides a vast range of scan options, including Full Scan, WordPress Scan, and Web server scan.
  • Perhaps the only flaw in the design of Open VAS is that its Security Scanner only runs on Linux.

11. Qualys FreeScan

11. Qualys FreeScan

Qualys is a free and open-source network scanning tool that detects flaws in the network system. Its key features are:

  • Scans URLs, IPs and local servers to detect any loophole in the security of a network.
  • Qualys offers three types of scans for multiple vulnerabilities: vulnerability checks, OWASP, and SCAP tests.
  • Qualys detects and helps users get rid of security patches.
  • Perhaps the only drawback of using Qualys is that it only allows ten free tests, and cannot be used for free in the long run.

12. Nikto

12. Nikto

Nikto is an open-source web server scanner, with the following features:

  • Nikto provides rapid testing to identify any suspicious activity in the network.
  • It provides Full HTTP proxy support.
  • It provides reports in various formats such as XML, HTML, and CSV.
  • The scanning features of Nikto are updated regularly.
  • Nikto scans HTTP servers, as well as web server configurations.

13. Retina Network Security Scanner

13. Retina Network Security Scanner

Retina Network Security Scanner, by beyond trust, is a network scanner that works across multiple platforms. It has the following key features:

  • Along with network scanning, Retina provides security fixes to Microsoft, Adobe, and Firefox applications.
  • It provides risk assessment based on optimal network performance, applications, Operating systems, etc.
  • It is free to use and provides security patches for up to 256 IPs.
  • Retina allows the user to select the type of report delivery, the format.

14. Nessus

14. Nessus

Nessus is a commercial vulnerability scanner that performs a multitude of functions such as:

  • It is available in three versions, Nessus Home, Nessus Professional, and Nessus Manager/Nessus Cloud, to fulfill different requirements for different users.
  • Although Nessus is mainly commercial software, a free version is available for download.
  • Nessus provides a timely vulnerability assessment to its users.
  • It has built-in plugins which allow it to detect over 50,000 vulnerabilities.
  • Nessus has a web-based interface that allows it to perform local and external checks.

15. Snort

15. Snort

Snort is an open-source network scanning tool with the following features:

  • Its free for use.
  • It analyses the IP address and the traffic passing through the network.
  • Quickly detects malware and port scans via content searching and protocol analysis.
  • Snort utilizes a Modular Detection Engine and Basic Analysis along with Security Engine (BASE) to define and describe network traffic.

16. Nexpose

16. Nexpose

Just like Nessus, Nexpose is a commercial network scanner tool, with the following available functions:

  • A free version of Nexpose is available in the form of its Community Edition.
  • Nexpose scans network, operating systems, application database, etc.
  • It can be installed onto Windows and Linux and Virtual Machines.

17. OpenSSH

17. OpenSSH

OpenSSH (Secure Shell) is a network scanner with the following functions:

  • Creates a secure connection over an unsafe network link, by encrypting it.
  • Fully dedicated to the UNIX environment.
  • OpenSSH utilizes the Premier Connectivity Tool, which encrypts all the network traffic and increases the network’s security.
  • It provides SSH tunneling, server authentication, and secure network configuration.

18. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

18. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is a commercial network monitoring tool that allows you to know about your device bandwidth and apps using the source of bottlenecks. 

The most impressive feature of this tool is that it provides detailed stats for every app connected to your network. Moreover, you can monitor specific datasets from your database and can even manage your computing services from anywhere. 

So far the only thing users dislike about the Paessler network monitor tool is its price. Although it offers various plans for small, medium, and large enterprises, the prices are way too high. On the contrary, if you use the free version, the service is not what you want. 

19. Skybox security

19. Skybox security

Skybox Security is a commercial network security scanning tool that is designed to detect vulnerabilities in your network. It uses various methods, including vulnerability scanning and penetration testing, to find these vulnerabilities. Additionally, Skybox Security can be used to scan for open ports and missing patches.

20. Site24x7

20. Site24x7

Another best network scanning tool is Site 24×7 which automatically discovers the devices in your network within the provided IP range or as a whole network using SNMP. You can also view the top devices based on response time and packet loss, bandwidth utilization, and errors and discards.

However, one downside of Site24x7 is that it is difficult to use. It does not come with any documentation or training material, so it takes a long time to learn to use Site24x7. You can avail of the 30-days trial period, and if you think that it is challenging to use, you can demand a refund. 

21. SolarWinds- Network Performance Monitor

21. SolarWinds-  Network Performance Monitor

SolarWinds is a commercial network monitoring and scanning tool that has been on the market for over 20 years. It is a comprehensive solution that allows you to monitor your entire network, from the device level to the application level. SolarWinds also includes features like a Wi-Fi network analyzer, Wi-Fi monitor, network diagnostic tools, and others that allow you to detect security issues, such as vulnerable ports.

The best thing about this network scanning tool is that it provides availability, fault, and performance metrics for the connected devices. However, it does come with a downside which is its price tag. It is amongst one of the most expensive options on the market. However, you can avail yourself of the 30-days risk-free trial to test out its services. 

Conclusion

Network scanning tools have become the need of the hour as they help in identifying devices connected to a network and detecting and fixing security issues. This article has provided a list of the best network scanning tools currently available, so do consider them using and increasing your network security.

Leave a Comment