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Thread: HOWTO: Netcat - TCP/IP swiss army knife

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

    HOWTO: Netcat - TCP/IP swiss army knife

    This article describes some netcat applications and demonstrates how to use netcat which is one of the most useful network tools.

    0. HTTP Server
    This is a simple HTTP server which listens on port 8080. The -l option puts netcat into listen mode and -c specifies the command to execute after a connection is established. The server respond can be viewed with a browser at http://localhost:8080.
            read req file proto
            echo -e "HTTP/1.1 200 OK\r\nContent-Type: text/html\r\n\r\n"
            echo -e "<html><h1>Hello World</h1></html>"
    typeset -fx handle_req
    nc -l -p 8080 -c handle_req
    1. HTTP Client
    This example will fetch the latest kernel version from (similar to finger(1) ). Note that netcat prints also the HTTP header.
    echo -e "GET /kdist/finger_banner HTTP/1.0\r\n" | \
    nc 80 | grep latest
    2. Remote Terminal
    This example shows how to connect to a remote shell without using telnet or ssh. The terminal server which runs on <host>:
    nc -l -p 4000 -e /bin/sh
    and the client :
    nc <host> 4000
    3. Port Scanning
    netcat can also be used for port scanning (with zero-I/O option).
    nc -v -z 80 21
    # or with port ranges
    nc -v -z 21-23
    4. File Transfer
    Sending a file "foobar" on port 4000 can be achieved like this:
    cat foobar | nc -l -p 4000
    The client would receive the file from <host> with this command:
    nc <host> 4000 > foobar
    5. Torifying Netcat
    The tor package includes torify, a wrapper for tsocks and tor, which can be used to anonymize network traffic :
    echo -e "GET /iponly/ HTTP/1.0\r\n" | torify nc 80
    This should print the IP address of the Tor exit-node that is used.

    6. Chat
    A simple one-to-one chat server can be started like this:
    nc -lp 8080
    Afterwards a client can connect to the server:
    nc <host> 8080
    Last edited by uljanow; July 15th, 2009 at 11:30 PM. Reason: added chat server

    "Specialization is for Insects", R. Heinlein

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Re: HOWTO: Netcat - TCP/IP swiss army knife


    I need some help to achieve this:

    I need to start an application in my headless server (hardy 64bit) which will always wait for some input.
    I need to send the input from my desktop pc to the server and, after it is processed by the application on the server, have the output on the desktop pc.

    I tried with faucet/hoses and netcat but to no avail. netcat gives me errors about refused connection.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Question Re: HOWTO: Netcat - TCP/IP swiss army knife


    Ive a problem to follow your netcat howto on intrepid ibex. As soon as i use echo "something" | netcat, netcat gives absolutly NO output! Any idea? Is this a bug?

    echo -e "GET /kdist/finger_banner HTTP/1.0\r\n" | \
    nc 80

    Doesnt work for me, but
    nc 80 and type GET /kdist/finger_banner HTTP/1.0 and press enter works!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Re: HOWTO: Netcat - TCP/IP swiss army knife

    Hm, this seem to be 64-Bit bug in intrepid ibex, can somebody verfy this with 32-Bit and someone with 64-Bit Ibex installation?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Re: HOWTO: Netcat - TCP/IP swiss army knife

    It works fine in 32 bit Intrepid.

     $ echo -e "GET /kdist/finger_banner HTTP/1.0\r\n" | nc 80
    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Date: Tue, 02 Dec 2008 09:22:58 GMT
    Server: Apache/2.2.9 (Fedora)
    Last-Modified: Tue, 02 Dec 2008 08:16:29 GMT
    ETag: "4927cfcc-1a4-45d0bf1c3b140"
    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    Content-Length: 420
    Connection: close
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
    The latest stable version of the Linux kernel is: 
    The latest prepatch for the stable Linux kernel tree is:    2.6.28-rc7
    The latest 2.4 version of the Linux kernel is:              2.4.37
    The latest 2.2 version of the Linux kernel is:              2.2.26
    The latest prepatch for the 2.2 Linux kernel tree is:       2.2.27-rc2
    The latest -mm patch to the stable Linux kernels is:        2.6.28-rc2-mm1

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Re: HOWTO: Netcat - TCP/IP swiss army knife

    I had the same problems with Intrepid, but on the 32-bit version.
    I think it's a Ubuntu Hardy->Intrepid upgrade bug.
    I found had 2 netcat packages on my machine:
    netcat-openbsd 1.89-3ubuntu1 (which provides netcat)
    netcat 1.10-38 (which also provides netcat)

    /bin/netcat -h showed that this was the openbsd version, and it did not work right (the symptoms posted above, and others)

    removing netcat-openbsd fixed it for me.
    /bin/netcat -h now shows version 1.10-38 and the program behaves normally.

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