Kaminsky, a security strategist at Avaya, built the freeware tool to reap the wealth of information about networked devices contained in IP packets. By flooding a network with simple requests, scanrand prompts a return of data about a network's topology and population.
"Networks have the capacity to throw a lot of packets around, so let's use that to identify what's out there quickly," Kaminsky explains.
Scanrand was built for speed, able to scan roughly 65,000 IP addresses in a private network in about four seconds.
In scanrand 2.0, Kaminsky pipes the raw data into a SQL database, through which users can easily organize and parse the data into actionable intelligence. For instance, users can not only discover a rogue machine on their network, but also see the pathways feeding it and the machine's open ports.
"You now have more detailed data mining on a more temporal field," Kaminsky says. "I have a vision that scanrand can do more network port discovery and network fingerprinting."
The fundamental problem scanrand addresses is network discovery without the invasiveness and bandwidth consumption of conventional scanners. Refining the data analysis, Kaminsky says, will give enterprises the ability to know how their network is changing and to better address routing, resource and security issues.
"This opens up new avenues that networking can be done," says Kaminsky, who's developing scanrand through his private site, DoxPara.com. "It increases the fluidity of enterprises' data."