Networking

How to run a network scan on your Ubuntu Touch device

Ubuntu Touch users can install a handy network scanner that serves serves as a front-end for the nmap scanning tool. Learn how to install and use Network Scanner.

Image: Jack Wallen

If you're one of the lucky owners of a Ubuntu Touch device, more than likely you plan on using that device as a tool to help administer servers or networks. Fortunately, you can install a terminal app to secure shell to your servers for admin purposes.

SEE: How to use secure shell from a Ubuntu Phone with the Terminal app

But what if you want to check on your network? Maybe there's an issue you need to track down, or you suspect a rogue device is causing problems. If that's the case, you should head over to the Ubuntu Store and install the Network Scanner app.

Network Scanner serves as a front-end for the ever-popular nmap scanning tool. With this tool you can run simple ping tests, port scans, locate discoverable services, and even add a network to favorites. The downsides to this app are: It doesn't allow you to save the scan results for later examination; also, adding this app doesn't gain you the nmap command line tool.

Installing Network Scanner

  1. Open the Scopes app.
  2. Swipe to the left until you see the Apps scope.
  3. Locate and tap the Ubuntu Store launcher.
  4. Search for network scanner.
  5. Locate and tap the entry by Michael Zanetti.
  6. Tap Install.
  7. Allow the installation to complete.

To open the app, do the following:

  1. Open the Scopes app.
  2. Swipe to the left until you see the Apps scope.
  3. Locate and tap the entry for Network Manager.

Scanning

To run a network scan, you have to enter your scan target(s) in the Target area (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen

Starting a network scan on the BQ Aquaris M10 Tablet.

The next step is to select the type of Port scan you want to do: None, Default, Fast Mode, All, or Custom. If you opt for a custom port scan, enter the target ports in the Custom Ports text area (delineated by commas). You can select if you want the scan to do a service discovery by tapping the associated check box.

Once you've selected your options, tap the Start Scan button, and the scan will begin. Depending on the options you've selected, the scan could take some time. When it completes, Network Scanner will report its findings by listing out every device it has found on your network (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen

Network Scanner scan results.

You can tap any of the resulting devices to get more information about what ports/services are open/available on the target (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C
Image: Jack Wallen

A host and its associated open ports/services.

With a specific discovered device open, you can either perform a full scan or tap the open ports to act on them (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D
Image: Jack Wallen

Acting on open ports on a device.

After you've set up a scan (and before you tapped the Start scan button), you can add a scan to favorites by tapping the + button in the upper right corner of the screen. After you add a scan to Favorites, you can access those favorites by clicking the star icon in the upper right corner. You can add the same network to favorites to include different options. For instance, say you want to be able to quickly run a fast mode scan on your local network or a more comprehensive scan on that same network. You could set both of these up (one at a time) and then add each to Favorites. Clicking the star icon will then bring up a pop-up window (Figure E) where you can select which scan to run.

Figure E

Figure #
Image: Jack Wallen

Selecting from your Favorites to run a scan.

Get your scan on

You now have another tool in your network admin toolbox, thanks to Ubuntu Touch and Network Scanner. It's not the most powerful network scanner on the market, but it does a great job of doing quick scans to help you sniff out possible issues on your network.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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