NetCat

In simple words Netcat is a Unix utility which reads and writes data across network connections, using TCP or UDP protocol. That’s it. But because its such a reliable back end tool which offers rich features for network debugging and exploration it would stupid not learn about it.

It is used from the command terminal with

nc <host's IP> <port number>

This command creates a TCP connection to the given port on the given target host. Now you can use different switches for different ends. Calling a netcat help switch reveals all the switches.

nc -h

Netcat can also function as a server, by listening for inbound connections on arbitrary ports and then doing the same reading and writing.

Now one might ask why not use telnet to connect to arbitrary ports? Its because telnet has the “standard input EOF” problem, so one must introduce calculated delays in driving scripts to allow network output to finish. whereas netcat stays running until the *network* side closes.

Below is a cheat sheet from SANS for netcat usage.

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    Do you remember the blockbuster hit film The Matrix that was released in 1999? You may not know this, but it has deep spiritual implications concerning the times we are living in and Bible prophecy.

    It tells a story of how these “agents” are trying to turn us into machines. We are closer then ever before for this to become a reality when they cause us to receive an implantable microchip in our body during a time when physical money will be no more.

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