SANS Penetration Testing

SANS Cheat Sheet: Netcat


by SANS Pen Test Team

We are adding another SANS Cheat Sheet to our arsenal of information security/penetration testing cheat sheets available here at the SANS Pen Test Blog. If you would like additional cheat sheets, click on the "cheatsheet" category or see below to find them all.

This cheat sheet is from our SANS SEC560: Network Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking course, authored by SANS Fellow, Ed Skoudis. To learn Netcat in-depth along with many other tools, methods, and techniques of penetration testing, please consider taking our core pen testing course, SEC560.

What is Netcat... from the wiki:

Netcat (often abbreviated to nc) is a computer networking utility for reading from and writing to network connections using TCP or UDP. Netcat is designed to be a dependable back-end that can be used directly or easily driven by other programs and scripts. At the same time, it is a feature-rich network debugging and investigation tool, since it can produce almost any kind of connection its user could need and has a number of built-in capabilities.

Download PDF: netcat-cheat-sheet



Other Netcat Resources:

Bash's Built-in Netcat Client

Netcat without -e? No problem!


Pen Test Cheat Sheets:

SANS Pen Test Training:


Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

Karl Fritz

I have to ask because netcat is no longer supported, why don't you switch to ncat instead? nc.exe is typically recognized as a virus. However, ncat is not. Ncat is still supported as part of the nmap set of tools (but still can be broken out).
Why no switch to ncat instead?

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