I was missing a generic layer 4 ping in my toolbox. Initially searching for a mere TCP ping, I have found Nping which completely satisfies my needs and gives so much more. ;)
What’s a layer 4 ping, and why? –> A normal ping (= ICMP echo-request) reveals whether the destination IP address, that is: the mere server/VM, is up and running. That’s great for a layer 3 networker since routing to and from the destination is already working. However, it does NOT reveal whether or not a service at layer 4 (TCP or UDP) is up and running as well. That’s what a layer 4 ping is about: sending TCP SYNs to the port in question, waiting for a “SYN ACK” (port is listening) or “RST”/no reply (port is not available). Common use cases: Waiting for a service to start again after an upgrade, or waiting for new firewall policies (to allow or deny) a certain port.
Continue reading Nping aka Layer 4 Ping
I really love ping! It is easy to use and directly reveals whether the network works or not. Refer to Why Ping is no Security Flaw! (But your Friend) and Advanced Tracerouting. At least outgoing pings (from trust to untrust) should be allowed without any security concerns. However, many companies are denying these ICMP echo-requests from untrust into the DMZ which makes it difficult to test whether all servers are up and running.
I was sitting at the customer’s site replacing the DMZ firewall. Of course I wanted to know (from the outside) whether all servers are connected correctly (NAT) and whether the firewall permits the connections (policy). However, ping was not allowed. Therefore I used several layer 7 ping tools that generate HTTP, DNS, or SMTP sessions (instead of ICMP echo-requests) and revealed whether the services (and not only the servers) were running. Great!
This post shows the installation and usage of httping, dnsping, and smtpping on a Linux machine, in my case a Ubuntu server 14.04.4 LTS, as well as some Wireshark screenshots from captured sessions. Finally, a pcap file can be downloaded that shows the sample runs of all three tools.
Continue reading Advanced Ping: httping, dnsping, smtpping