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Interview with NMAP Creator Fyodor

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the colored-hat dept.

Security 89

An anonymous reader writes "Whitedust has an interview with Fyodor, creator of NMAP. The interview covers a broad range of topics from Fyodor's roots and motivations in the security world to his newer projects and even mentions Fyodor's forthcoming book on NMAP network scanning."

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89 comments

Remember...Fyodor Hacks Slashdot Users. (-1, Flamebait)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807484)

FWT...FHL...FHAND...And decided it was o.k. to break into a university network, and then infiltrate a personal and private PC...all because he was suckered into cybering a dude. So remember, remember the source. Reference threads and article [slashdot.org]just browse through at -1.
Documented for History [trollaxor.com]. Lest we forget.

Roots and motivations? (5, Funny)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807492)

Could it be that the motivation was... root?

Re:Roots and motivations? (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807832)

> Could it be that the motivation was... root?

Not in Australia.

Go root! (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 8 years ago | (#13808069)

> > Could it be that the motivation was... root?

> Not in Australia.

Well, psychologists would say that all this work is ultimately done to impress women and get laid.

On second thoughts, is writing code likely to get you laid? (Hint for the stereotype /. reader; taking a shower is easier, and probably more effective.)

(BTW, since parent didn't make it clear, 'root' is slang for sexual intercourse in Australian English)

completely off-topic, but... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13808121)

nice attempt to translate the "swallow" dialog from the holly grail to latin, but "swallow" in latin is "hirundo", not swallonis, or wathever...

punny. (0, Redundant)

dshaw858 (828072) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807495)

[...] Fyodor's roots [...]

Har har. Get it? Port scanner? His ... roots?

I thought it was funny.

- dshaw

Re:punny. (0)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807669)

I don't get it.

Done a little too much LDS?

Re:punny. (4, Funny)

BandwidthHog (257320) | more than 8 years ago | (#13808009)

Done a little too much LDS?

Dude, a little bit of Mormon goes a *long* way.

Re:punny. (0)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 8 years ago | (#13808050)

Dude, a little bit of Mormon goes a *long* way.

Thats not a star trek reference, I don't get it either.

Spelling it out in in 200pt comic sans (1)

I Like Pudding (323363) | more than 8 years ago | (#13809418)

LDS = Latter Day Saints = Mormons

Re:Spelling it out in in 200pt comic sans (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813238)

If I were making battlestar galactica references I might have gotten it.

Talking about Mormons in the face of ly-diethylamide sergic acid is a bit weird, even for me, though.

Fyodor (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807513)

If anyone is wondering what his last name is, 'Fyodor' is a pseudonym (a.k.a. a "handle"). So there is no last name to go with it.

This handle was partly inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky, who was perhaps the second greatest writer of all time.

Re:Fyodor (1)

shadowdata (804281) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807526)

Who was the first then ??

Re:Fyodor (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807565)

The parent erred. The post ment to suggest Fyodor Dostoevsky was possibly the second greatest novelist of all time. This, of course, is also an error, as Miguel de Cervantes was the greatest novelist of all time, followed by Tolstoy, then by Flaubert.

The greatest writer of all time is obviously Shakespeare, just as in music there is Bach then there is music, so in writing there is Shakespeare then there is literature.

Now you know :)

Re:Fyodor (2, Informative)

Osty (16825) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807625)

The parent erred. The post ment to suggest Fyodor Dostoevsky was possibly the second greatest novelist of all time. This, of course, is also an error, as Miguel de Cervantes was the greatest novelist of all time, followed by Tolstoy, then by Flaubert.

Or, he was referring to Monkey Island's running gag of, "That's the second biggest [monkey head | duck | arrow | etc] I've ever seen."

Is it so wrong that Monkey Island was the first thing that came to mind when reading the OP's post?

Re:Fyodor (2, Funny)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807664)

The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
-- Dostoyevski

So, it seem Fyodor was trying to get out of jail(2) [freebsd.org] ?

Re:Fyodor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13808353)

The "that's the second biggest..." gag originally comes from Get Smart.

Re:Fyodor (1)

fbg111 (529550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13812551)

Or from Hitchhiker's guide:

"What is this great task for which I, Deep Thought, the second greatest computer in the Universe of Space and Time, have been called into existence?"

Re:Fyodor (2, Informative)

jackbird (721605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13808367)

Or, he was referring to Monkey Island's running gag of, "That's the second biggest [monkey head | duck | arrow | etc] I've ever seen."

That gag predates Monkey Island [wouldyoubelieve.com] by quite a few years. Not that Monkey Island didn't kick ass.

Re:Fyodor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13810448)

Thank you, dear Google bot. No mention of Mika Waltari, Stephen King, or Vlad Majakovski.

Asshat.

Re:Fyodor (5, Funny)

dirtsurfer (595452) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807624)

This handle was partly inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky, who was perhaps the second greatest writer of all time.

With the first greatest writer being, of course, Mr. Anonymous Coward

Re:Fyodor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13810385)

Why, thank you! Thank you very many!

Re:Fyodor (1, Interesting)

bobintetley (643462) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807657)

This handle was partly inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky, who was perhaps the second greatest writer of all time.

Don't know why (I have heard of the famous Fyodor), but I always assumed he picked it because when you say it out loud it sounds like "fire-door" :-)

If you are wondering (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807671)

His name is Gordon Way.

Re:Fyodor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13808741)

Thanks Captain Obvious!

Re:Fyodor (0)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 8 years ago | (#13809390)

I woke up from a short NMAP and smelled this horrible Fyodor. Wow man, did someone bust open a stink bomb on the network?

* Looking back from the future, it will be seen that this post is the one that will inspire someone else to create a revolutionary new toolset called NOSTRILS that will revolutionize everything. Really, just wait and see. *

Nmap SoC (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807514)

Still waiting for the click 'n root SoC nmap Gui version ...

real sysadmins... (5, Funny)

weighn (578357) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807524)

...forgo those fancy tools and port scan from Vim

Re:real sysadmins... (4, Funny)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807545)

...forgo those fancy tools and port scan from Emacs

Fixed that for you.

Re:real sysadmins... (1)

loucura! (247834) | more than 8 years ago | (#13808990)

...forgo those fancy tools and port scan from Emacs from Vi

There, fixed that for you too.

Re:real sysadmins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13810163)

>forego those fancy tools and port scan from HONK HONK HONK!!!!1
There, fixed that for you as well.

Re:real sysadmins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13810288)

...forgo those fancy tools and port scan from Pico

Finally, a correct version.

Re:real sysadmins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13811768)

...forgo those fancy tools and port scan from a text editor they rolled themselves.

That should take care of it. Also, real sysadmins know that the internet is totally insecure, and thus block all ports.

Fyodor's nmap is a great tool (5, Insightful)

SecureTheNet (915798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807536)

for network assesment. It's the best free tool out there, and IMHO better than the commercial apps as well.

what? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807577)

Seriously, where the fuck is my goddamn pizza. Who are you people, anyway?

Obligatory (5, Funny)

Council (514577) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807580)

I was going to ask what he thought of nmap porn [insecure.org], but then I realized the link I was using was from nmap's own site! Apparently they condone this sort of thing.

Come on, Fydor, admit it. Like most of us, you don't really care about coding, you just do it to get girls.

Re:Obligatory (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807731)

My eyes! Sweet merciful Jesus!

Re:Obligatory (1)

Donald Ferrone (863523) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807741)

So, uh, since when did they vote to widen the definition of "girl"?

Re:Obligatory (1, Informative)

Council (514577) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807755)

Watch the video. She's cuter than the stills look.

Re:Obligatory (3, Insightful)

blincoln (592401) | more than 8 years ago | (#13810146)

Watch the video. She's cuter than the stills look.

More like "it's a video of a rivet-ish girl using nmap while stripping, and all the dorks on Slashdot can say is that she's not hot enough." Why is it that so many computer geeks don't get dates again?

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807786)

When I went to the site it said:

[ The HaXXXor video downloads which were here have been removed -- I could not afford the bandwidth charges ]

Nooooooooo!!!!!11

So.. umm.. anyone have a torrent?

Re:Obligatory (0, Troll)

DarkIye (875062) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807789)

Holy Jesus! Last time I saw something as ugly as that it came out of Frontpage Express.

Re:Obligatory (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807889)

I'd like to scan her ports...

Best Fyodor quote (4, Interesting)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807588)

In the second Matrix film, Trinity uses nmap to find a vulnerability in an old SSH version that she then exploits. Probably the first realistic hacking depiction in a major film. Fyodor said something along the lines of
"It was so awesome, my jaw dropped when I saw it in the theaters. A sexy woman uses my program. I think that means we are married."

Actual quote (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807650)

You have butchered it quite a bit. What he actually said [seclists.org] was:

From: Fyodor
Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 02:17:19 -0700

Hi Everyone. There is a disturbance in the force! You may recall a couple weeks ago that MS started recommending Nmap on some of their web pages. That was strange, but I did not foresee the anomalous omens that would ensue.

Like almost any self-respecting geek, I bought tickets to 'Matrix: Reloaded' several weeks back (no spoilers, I promise). After all, who can resist the combination of philosophical mind games and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) in that tight leather bodysuit?

So after waiting an hour in a line snaking out of the theatre to the parking lot, I finally got in to my 10pm Wednesday showing. All was going well until Trinity needed to do some hacking. Oh, no! I was sure we'd see a silly "Hackers"-esque 3D animated "hacking scene". Not so! Trinity is as smart as she is seductive! She whips out Nmap (!!!), scans her target, finds 22/tcp open, and proceeds with an ber ssh technique! I was so surprised, I almost jumped out of my seat and did the "r00t dance" right there in the theatre!

There can be only one explanation: Carie-Anne has the hots for me! [...]

Re:Actual quote (2, Interesting)

antdude (79039) | more than 8 years ago | (#13808022)

Heh, it was quite funny when I went to see the movie with a bunch of geeks who work for a well-known security company. Pretty much the whole theater busted laughing at that scene. It's just weird and cool. :)

Fyodor was wrong. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13809141)

...Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) in that tight leather bodysuit...

Her suit is not leather, but instead a shiny black plastic (vinyl?).

Smileys (4, Funny)

arch119 (882281) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807605)

WD> Have you ever been concerned that Nmap is used for blackhat purposes?
Fyodor> I doubt that Nmap has ever been used for blackhat purposes. OK, maybe once or twice :). But ...



....I just hope the WD guys didn't interview someone logged in to an IRC channel and claiming himself as being Fyodor.....

Re:Smileys (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807641)

Well... I guess this [slashdot.org] kinda shuts you up huh?

Re:Smileys (1)

arch119 (882281) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807877)

Well... I guess this kinda shuts you up huh?

How ? It only suggests that a guy, (whose handle is "fv" and who asserts his email add. to be fyodor@insecure.org ( and is not worried about even the dumbest of spam robots acquiring his email add.)) makes a declaration that a sample chapter from an unpublished book is available online.
Is he the real Fyodor? God knows.
Did he say anything about giving interview to any website? I didn't notice.
Please shut me up. That ain't enough.

Advance Chapter: Nmap Reference Guide (5, Informative)

fv (95460) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807632)

The Nmap Network Scanning book isn't yet complete, but I have decided to release one of the most important chapters in advance online. That is this Nmap Reference Guide [insecure.org], which will become the new man page. It is rewritten from scratch to be much more comprehensive and detailed than the previous version, and better organized as well. It can be read top to bottom or used as a quick reference to look up that obscure scan type you are considering. Let me know [mailto] if you have any suggestions for improving it. I'm also looking for translators (the previous man page is available in nine languages [insecure.org]. If you are interested, send me mail with your target language. That way I can send you the source file (DocBook XML) to translate rather than the HTML/Nroff which is auto-generated. That will also prevent the case of several people duplicating effort by translating to the same language. I was planning to announce this tomorrow, but since the book seems to be mentioned at the top of Slashdot right now anyway, I just scrambled to put it up.

And now for the goods. Here is the HTML Nmap Reference Guide [insecure.org]. Or you can download the Nroff (man page) form here [insecure.org]. Enjoy!

-Fyodor [insecure.org]

Re:Advance Chapter: Nmap Reference Guide (1, Interesting)

foorilious (798451) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807672)

Hey Fyodor, I wrote reflscan, and I think it's pretty cool that you still mention it, especially since the version that got out was so crappy, and your scanner doesn't owe anything to it. Cheers.

Re:Advance Chapter: Nmap Reference Guide (1)

foorilious (798451) | more than 8 years ago | (#13810595)

I'm not sure why this comment is getting -2 redundant, since as far as I know it's nowhere else in the article or the comments that I wrote reflscan and that I'm honored that Fyodor is conscientious enough to continue to mention it in interviews like these (as well as the other scanners he liked and wanted to improve upon). If the mods are detecting sarcasm in my post, they do so incorrectly.

Off-topic I could maybe see, but redundant? What?

Re:Advance Chapter: Nmap Reference Guide (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807699)

I would never buy a book written by a depraved, insidious hacker hell-bent on criminal intrusions into systems owned by minors. [slashdot.org]

But good luck.

Re:Advance Chapter: Nmap Reference Guide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807934)

Fyodor rooted a troll? Cool ;)

I'm not sure I'd go that far myself but there's no question about it - I'd be tempted if I felt humiliated enough.

As for the post you linked to, what a whining POS troll. Not to mention the irony of him suddenly becoming a dramaqueen playing the "victim". They (trolls) get off on screwing with peoples heads and hiding behind the anonymity of the internet, so, what on earth makes them think people will behave nicely in return? Oh, I see - "It was just a joke". Heh, I've got news for you - some people don't like to get kicked around and trolls are naive if they think actions wont have consequences.

So, how did it feel to get hacked? I mean, if it wasn't you then why would you even care?

Not this debunked troll again (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13808002)

This troll was debunked, what, 3 years ago? Can't you come up with any original material? I'll admit that your one-line summary is amusing in a troll-gibberish sense.

fyodor broke the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13811212)

not much of a "troll" to "debunk" now is it? He broke the law and some kids took note. Its no big deal, we've all made mistakes, but still it has to be said that this individual is not above breaking into other folks computers, indeed, its a skill he has honed through years of practice and if he can personally gain from it, he will break the law again. Thats only common sense.

Why are we glorifying this Criminal? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807864)

Fyodor,

You are scum. How can you sleep at night?

Re:Advance Chapter: Nmap Reference Guide (1)

ptarjan (593901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13808239)

I just reviewed the manpage.. looks very good.. except I noticed that my name no longer resides on the author section..

It mentions the book?!?! (4, Insightful)

andreMA (643885) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807647)

and even mentions Fyodor's forthcoming book on NMAP network scanning.
Of course the book has absolutely nothing to do with why he gave the interview.

Not that there's anything wrong with pushing a book you've written, but it being mentioned is hardly a surprise.

Fyodor is not a heroic "white hat" security expert (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807658)

Please read on and review some of the facts so that you may come to your own conclusions about Fyodor and nmap.

Beginning innocuously enough with this post [slashdot.org] by one electricmonk [slashdot.org], supposedly a "Linux booth babe," several lonely Slashdot geeks were trolled into replying, both on Slashdot itself and privately by email. One of the individuals who replied privately by email was none other than the subject of this exposé, Fyodor, cruising for some hot geek-loving ass. Little did Fyodor know that electricmonk [slashdot.org] was none other than SumDeusExMachina [slashdot.org], AKA "SDEM," long-time trolling stalwart. Fyodor had let his hormones get the better of his common sense as he began an attempt to seduce electricmonk [slashdot.org].

Not wanting to carry his charade on any further (and understandably so, with an over-excited Fyodor on his tail), SDEM explained politely and truthfully to Fyodor about the non-existant Linux booth babe who was really just a bored young man enrolled in college for the Summer. Fyodor's latest hantise femelle destroyed, he vowed revenge on SDEM no matter the cost. The word wanker echoed in his head as he decided not even the law would stop him in his unholy vengeance. In just over a week, Fyodor had owned SDEM's box and began posting about it in trolltalk.

Luckily, on one unbelievably hot, humid Kansas City day back in August of 2002, Dame Fortune guided my hand to save a copy of trolltalk complete with Fyodor gloating at his criminal victory over SDEM. We even have a statement from one of the two parties involved [slashdot.org] and a nice summary of events by http://slashdot.org/~sllort/journal/33255 [slashdot.org]">a very dependable third party who witnessed the entire fiasco. And back in the present, we have several [slashdot.org] individuals [slashdot.org] raising [slashdot.org] questions [slashdot.org] about Fyodor's morality and legal status.

I now ask you, gentle sirs and madams, would you use a tool written by a known criminal, especially a known criminal who specifically attacks underage boys? Fyodor's endorsement by Slashdot is obviously a betrayal of simple journalistic integrity and ethics, with both the Slashdot staff and Fyodor standing to experience a significant financial windfall from their collaboration. I urge you to reconsider not only your patronage of Slashdot, but also any viewing or use of tools or websites created by or related to Fyodor. He is not a man to be trusted, nor is he a man at all.

Thank you.

Re:Fyodor is not a heroic "white hat" security exp (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807677)

Yeah I think someone else tried to troll this up from the past as well earlier on and it got modded down badly.

Perhaps no one cares? Fyodor is a security legend. Deal with it.

never mind the mod abuse -- read parent links (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807767)

I guess it's clear that certain editors and mods don't want this issue creeping into the discussion, but it's important. It sits at zero despite being relevent and raising disturbing issues surrounding fyodor's legitimacy.

Re:Fyodor is not a heroic "white hat" security exp (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807848)

what kind of useless bastard reposts old old trolls like this one. what a crock of shit.

Re:Fyodor is not a heroic "white hat" security exp (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807879)

Indeed [slashdot.org]

Put this criminal in jail.

plz mod parent FUNNY (-1, Troll)

mu22le (766735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13809301)

what the hell!
Cant /. mods tell a troll from a well crafted joke?!?
A troll disguis itself as someone very in the know and very sure of itself, the parent is evidently (to me) just joking!
So why did you mod it down to hell as troll and nobody considered the Funny part of it? If you don't find it funny well, ok, save your mod points. But dont be too trigger happy with that "-1 troll"!

Or is it Fyodor such a godlike beeing that we mere mortals are not allowed to make a little fun of him?

Re:Fyodor is not a heroic "white hat" security exp (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 8 years ago | (#13810188)

I now ask you, gentle sirs and madams, would you use a tool written by a known criminal

Yes.

Next question?

Re:Fyodor is not a heroic "white hat" security exp (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#13830028)

Reminds me about the once CEO of Axciom. I read a book about the company which created the tools the police forces all over america, including the fbi and ss use to basically look up any info on anyone and their neighbors and dogs. The guy that created the program was reputedly involved in the Iran-Contra scandal among other things. This struck some of the heads of gov't as a bad thing, but not bad enough to not use his brilliant tools.

nmap GUI (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807696)

How do I run nmap gui with full functionality as non-root?

GUIS ARE FOR DROOLING FUCKTARDS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13807717)

FUCK MOUSE JOCKEYS!

Re:nmap GUI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13808770)

you can't. AFAIK, you can't run the command line version w/ full functionality as non-root either.

Thank you, NMAP-developer-like people. (4, Interesting)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807764)

This article takes me back to my slackware days. People ask me how I learned what I know, and the answer is that back in the day I got my hands on nmap and other impressive tools and through wild guess and checking began to conceptualize the whole net thing. Well, to come clean, I'd give out free shells on IRC and ttysnoop other people running nmap to hack my box -- that's how I got started.

My point is it didn't come from books, a class or even man pages (that's a given), but toolin' around with the tools epitomized by nmap. Seeing this article touched a nerve in me to say thanks as the readers of this, in my estimation, is a group most densely populated by people who coded wares that got me to wherever I am today, which apparently is a very low-level pron tycoon, who's all about the high res.

Thanks.

Question (3, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#13808237)

How do you write a book on NMAP?

Is it how the networks operate and how NMAP plays with it? Or is this an NMAP manual? I mean it ain't exactly hard to use. I can't imagine a book on how to use NMAP being more than 50 pages or so...

Of course I haven't read any TFA if there is one...

Tom

Nmap is bigger than you think... (5, Informative)

networkuptime (923486) | more than 8 years ago | (#13808433)

I can't imagine a book on how to use NMAP being more than 50 pages or so...

That's exactly what I thought when I started writing a short tutorial on nmap. 200 pages later(!), it's a comprehensive guide to the operation and inner-workings of nmap.

I've documented, graphically displayed, and captured network traffic for every nmap ping type, scan method, and nmap option. Not every nmap option works exactly the way one might expect, so I've also documented the "gotchas" when using nmap. I also wrote a chapter that outlines some practical uses of nmap for ongoing security needs.

I've released the book with a Creative Commons license, and posted the entire book to the web for free! My goal was to give something back to the security community that could be used to make networks more secure and to help network professionals understand what happens when these scans are active on their network.

Secrets of Network Cartography: A Comprehensive Guide to nmap is available at:

http://www.networkuptime.com/nmap/index.shtml [networkuptime.com]

I'm working on the next version now, and I'm open for suggestions and comments. Please let me know what you think!

James Messer
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