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5.8. Verifying Which Ports Are Listening
After configuring network services, it is important to pay attention to which ports are actually listening on the system's network interfaces. Any open ports can be evidence of an intrusion.
There are two basic approaches for listing the ports that are listening on the network. The less reliable approach is to query the network stack by typing commands such as
lsof -i. This method is less reliable since these programs do not connect to the machine from the network, but rather check to see what is running on the system. For this reason, these applications are frequent targets for replacement by attackers. In this way, crackers attempt to cover their tracks if they open unauthorized network ports.
A more reliable way to check which ports are listening on the network is to use a port scanner such as
The following command issued from the console determines which ports are listening for TCP connections from the network:
nmap -sT -O localhost
The output of this command looks like the following:
Starting nmap 3.55 ( http://www.insecure.org/nmap/ ) at 2004-09-24 13:49 EDT Interesting ports on localhost.localdomain (127.0.0.1): (The 1653 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: closed) PORT STATE SERVICE 22/tcp open ssh 25/tcp open smtp 111/tcp open rpcbind 113/tcp open auth 631/tcp open ipp 834/tcp open unknown 2601/tcp open zebra 32774/tcp open sometimes-rpc11 Device type: general purpose Running: Linux 2.4.X|2.5.X|2.6.X OS details: Linux 2.5.25 - 2.6.3 or Gentoo 1.2 Linux 2.4.19 rc1-rc7) Uptime 12.857 days (since Sat Sep 11 17:16:20 2004) Nmap run completed -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 5.190 seconds
This output shows the system is running
portmapdue to the presence of the
sunrpcservice. However, there is also a mystery service on port 834. To check if the port is associated with the official list of known services, type:
cat /etc/services | grep 834
This command returns no output. This indicates that while the port is in the reserved range (meaning 0 through 1023) and requires root access to open, it is not associated with a known service.
Next, check for information about the port using
lsof. To check for port 834 using
netstat, use the following command:
netstat -anp | grep 834
The command returns the following output:
tcp 0 0 0.0.0.0:834 0.0.0.0:* LISTEN 653/ypbind
The presence of the open port in
netstatis reassuring because a cracker opening a port surreptitiously on a hacked system would likely not allow it to be revealed through this command. Also, the
[p]option reveals the process id (PID) of the service which opened the port. In this case, the open port belongs to
ypbind(NIS), which is an RPC service handled in conjunction with the
lsofcommand reveals similar information since it is also capable of linking open ports to services:
lsof -i | grep 834
Below is the relevant portion of the output for this command:
ypbind 653 0 7u IPv4 1319 TCP *:834 (LISTEN) ypbind 655 0 7u IPv4 1319 TCP *:834 (LISTEN) ypbind 656 0 7u IPv4 1319 TCP *:834 (LISTEN) ypbind 657 0 7u IPv4 1319 TCP *:834 (LISTEN)
These tools reveal a great deal about the status of the services running on a machine. These tools are flexible and can provide a wealth of information about network services and configuration. Consulting the man pages for
servicesis therefore highly recommended.