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Netcat definition

Netcat is a networking tool for reading from and writing to network connections. It's called the “Swiss Army Knife” of networking due to its range of functions.

Netcat establishes TCP and UDP connections with remote hosts. This allows communication between devices over a network. It can be used in both client and server modes, so it's handy for various networking tasks.

See also: network connectivity

Use cases of Netcat:

  • Port Scanning: Netcat scans for open ports on a remote system. This helps in network reconnaissance and security assessments.
  • Banner Grabbing: It allows users to retrieve banners or service identification information from open ports on remote systems.
  • File Transfer: Netcat can transfer files between machines. It's useful for backing up files over the network.
  • Remote Shell: Netcat enables remote shell access to a target system. It's useful for remote administration and troubleshooting.
  • Chat and Messaging: Netcat can act as a chat application. Users can exchange messages over a network connection.
  • Port Forwarding: It can ease port forwarding for tunneling connections through intermediate hosts.
  • Network Testing: Netcat is often used to test network services and applications. It's done by sending and receiving data across network connections.