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Re: Nmap 2.30BETA20 Released
From: Andrew Brown <atatat () atatdot net>
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2000 15:23:17 -0400

i'd also like to suggest that you distribute the "massive" services
file that i've been maintaining for a year or so at


as the nmap-services file.  it's basically a large merge of the iana
port-numbers list and the services files from solaris, the bsds, a few
linuxes, and some submissions i've gotten, giving a really nice big
list.  it's really good for scanning *everything*.  :)

I took some time to compare the differences between the services file
distributed with nmap 2.30beta20, and the new services file that you are
maintaining.  It looks like you have roughly triple the number of port
descriptions - good job!


I can see that these short descriptions will be useful in identifying open
ports in a scan - however I wish that contributors to your list (and any
port list) would drop more hints about what the services are.  

well...i don't *actually* have that many submissions.  maybe 12 so
far.  most of it comes from the files i mentioned.

Personally, I only recognized several of the thousands of additional ports
on your list.  Mention of an OS or application name would help with the
research - especially for those of us performing external auditing who
don't always have the immediate luxury of 'lsof -i'. (That comes soon
enough, but usually not through discovering a new hole in a completely
unknown app :)

that's information that i don't have...but wish i did.  jeez...it's be
nice if i had service names, application names, platform names, and
specifications for all the protocols in the world...then i could build
a sophisticated service detector as opposed to a port scanner.  :)

I saw a few port ranges that I wanted to draw attention to for anyone
using the service file:

lines/ description
  64/ tcp ports for x11 (6000-6063) - this is sort of overkill..
  64/ udp ports for x11 (6000-6063) - AFAIK X doesn't use UDP
 100/ VRML range (4200-4299) - 100 ports for what?
  91/ swx (7300-7390) - www.swx.com? what server software is this?
 ...couple other ranges like this should be looked at

that's iana's doing.  the iana file has this:

x11             6000-6063/tcp   X Window System
x11             6000-6063/udp   X Window System
#                          Stephen Gildea <gildea () lcs mit edu>

and typically assigns the udp and tcp port numbers in tandem, as
opposed to ancient practice (see syslog vs shell)

Since I'm addressing problems - another issue is that most port lists
(including the IANA assignments) list identifiers that are somewhat
useless in the real world.  For example all of those ports with entries
for both TCP and UDP.  Most services don't use both transports.  For
example if you are scanning and see an open TCP port 137 - it's *not* the
netbios name service.  There are a ton of port identifiers like this that
might actually just slow down ligitimate auditing, or in some cases
confuse/mislead administrators who don't know any better..

well...that's true.  

For the benefit of less experienced netmapers, I would prefer to see
netbios-ns         137/tcp           # netbios name service
be replaced by
UNKNOWN            137/tcp           # daemon on priveledged port! () #$
and other appropriate accuracies.

that's a philosophical question.  i'd prefer it if the skript kiddeez
were just strangled sometimes.  :)

Another option is to remove those entries, but I generally prefer to see
as much detail about the remote host as possible, as there are often
"rogue" daemons listening on ports one wouldn't expect - in particular
ftpd and httpd are sometimes bound in strange places by their owners.

they can be yes, but see my previous posting about identifying
services.  i see nmap as a tool to get a list of listening ports,
along with *suggestions* as to what services might be running on those

the services file that i've generated (i didn't do it by hand) prefer
iana entries over all else, and puts those names in to the left of
numbers for cases where the iana file has an entry.  iana is
"supposed" to be authoritative.  as it is, lots of people just grab a
random port for their homegrown service, with the assumption that it
won't interfere with anything.  in most cases, it doesn't...unless
you're portscanning.  :)

|-----< "CODE WARRIOR" >-----|
codewarrior () daemon org             * "ah!  i see you have the internet
twofsonet () graffiti com (Andrew Brown)                that goes *ping*!"
andrew () crossbar com       * "information is power -- share the wealth."

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