Fast Scanning To Fuel ‘Golden Age’ Of Global Flaw Finding

A network scanner designed from scratch by three University of Michigan researchers can scan the entire IPv4 Internet in about 45 minutes, drastically reducing the speed at which such scans can be accomplished.

Announced at last month’s USENIX Security conference, the scanner, dubbed ZMap, uses a modular approach to scanning to speed the process, the pseudo-random selection of IP addresses to avoid overwhelming small networks and validation of the responses by a separate system to verify the results. The researchers — Zakir Durumeric, Eric Wustrow, and J. Alex Halderman — used the scanner to track protocol use on the Internet, find systems vulnerable to HTTPS weak key flaw, and discover unadvertised services. Without fast scans of the Internet, many types of research would not be feasible, says Durumeric, a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at the University of Michigan.