This February, the team at has chosen NMAP as the Open Source Security Tool of the Month!

In January, we chose GnuPG in part because it had just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Well, it wasn't alone. As of this past December Nmap ("Network Mapper"), the free and open source utility for network exploration and auditing, celebrated its 10th Anniversary as well! And because of its popularity, chances are very good that you've already used NMAP for quite some time. Even if you have, it's always good to take a look at how it all got started and what it's all about...
What has really made NMAP such a staple of network security configuration is that its capability was the result such a strong communal need. As is the case with so many open source projects, NMAP followed a path that really mimics "necessity is the mother of invention."

As huge networks began to take shape, as the Internet took its hold within businesses and schools, and as users everywhere started to understand and protect their network, a similar story kept popping up: 'I need to know the information is passing between my network and the Internet and I have to track X ports on X machines to do it.' So how many is X? A number that screams "I need something heavy-duty and automated."

And so it was in 1997, while fulfilling the role of TA at Johns Hopkins University, that its creator Fyodor was presented with a dorm room, access to a large network and some insufficient tools. Some of them did one job. Some did another. And yet, even after modifications, none of them (Strobe, Reflscan or UDP) really seemed to do what was needed. So, during the summer of that year he hacked together a robust scanning tool and that September, the first official version of NMAP was released. It was gloriously received by users around the world; which, by community standards, equates to a huge influx of bug fixes, ideas and suggestions on how you should take your code and start again.  (Of course, this is what the community is all about

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