Network Scanning #1 / Port Scanning, Anonymous FTP Querying, UDP Flooding

There exist a variety of mechanisms an attacker may use to perform network-based activities against a remote or local host, with many of them existing in the form of well-established mechanisms such as ‘nmap’ or other well-known utilities.  This post will attempt to demonstrate how to establish a basic TCP Connection to a remote host as well as showing how to utilize anonymous FTP logins and basic UDP Port flooding capabilities, to be expanded on in later posts.

The overall script is designed to take a variety of arguments as input such as the target-host, target-ports for scanning and whether or not to attempt anonymous FTP login or UDP flooding on the specified ports.  Typically, port scanning programs will check all well-known ports (1-1024) or even more, but this script will be very basic in that it will only check ports specified by the user.  It would be trivial to remove this and instead have it iterate through a port list.  The code snippet below demonstrates a basic port scanning function which will iterate through all ports given in the ‘target_Ports’ list, specified outside the scope of the local function by the given user inputs or statically populated with any desired port.


Here we see that threading is utilized to allow concurrent execution of the ‘Connect()’ function in order to speed up the overall scanning process.  Zooming in to the ‘Connect’ function, we can observe how the parameter arguments are utilized in order to make a socket connection to the remote host on the target port, with a custom payload available that can be tuned by the developer to whatever is required.


It would be possible to analyze the ‘feedback’ response of the remote host in order to determine if the socket was immediately reset or if a legitimate response other than a TCP RST was received, allowing for the determination of whether or not a target port is ‘open’, ‘filtered’ or ‘closed’.  An immediate TCP RST would indicate it is likely ‘closed’ or perhaps ‘filtered’ while any other response, such as a query indicating the payload is invalid, might indicate the port is ‘open’.  This type of information can be useful to attackers performing initial reconnaissance.

An easy way to perform an anonymous FTP login attempt would be through the usage of the ‘ftplib’ module included in Python.  A small function demonstrating this sort of capability with a randomly generated email address is shown in the code snippets below.



Flooding a port is slightly more complicated, but not much more.  For this example, we will utilize randomized UDP datagrams and attempt to continuously send them to the specified ports given by user arguments.  The initial function beginning this behavior is shown below.


The above code takes as argument the specified target host, the list of ports given in user arguments as well as the time that flooding should occur for, also given in the user arguments in terms of seconds.  Each port to be flooded is given its own process in order to execute concurrently using the ‘port_Flooder’ class, described in more detail below.


Above we see the beginning of the port_Flooder class, existing as a derivative of multiprocessing.process.BaseProcess, which issues a ‘run’ statement in the initialization of each class in order to begin immediate functionality.  The self function ‘flood_port’ is called for each instance, shown in the image below.


‘flood_port’ essentially takes in as arguments the target host, target port and the time that flooding should occur for and uses these to create a new socket which is utilized to send data over via UDP.  Packet contents are given via the ‘random_data’ variable which consists of random data with the generation mechanism specific to the current OS.  This data is then used through the ‘socket.sendto’ function and sent to the target host/port pair.  Unless this is performed hundreds or thousands of times simultaneously with various hosts, it is unlikely this alone will effect the performance of any server due to most autonomous mechanisms which exist to prevent this type of basic DoS attack.

Published by

Joe Avanzato

Blue Team SME | Purple Team Engineer | Red Team Hunter Previously - Cyber Detection Lead for Paychex - Design, Build, Test and Tune Detection Rules, Log/Environment Visibility, Threat Hunting, etc. Computing Security M.S. - Experience with penetration testing, digital forensics, malware analysis, reverse engineering, cryptography/analysis, protocol design, application auditing and more..

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