How to use Scany, a network scanner for the iPad and iPhone

Use Scany -- a network scanner for the iPad and iPhone -- to identify open ports and other vulnerabilities and keep your network safe.

Scany -- the network scanner for iOS
Credit: Calvinus (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Network scanning on iOS

Before plunging in, I'll be first to admit that I don't normally associate iOS with network scanning or security tools. In the past, I've run network scanner apps primarily on Linux or Mac OS X, using tools such as nmap, nessus, even a discontinued tool known as Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks (SATAN) many moons ago. For users of Windows, Wireshark is probably one of the more popular tools used to scan networks.  

So after a reader emailed me about Scany -- a network scanning app for the iPhone and iPad -- I couldn't resist the temptation to test its features. I installed Scany on an iPad 3 running the most up-to-date version of iOS (currently version 8.3).

Scanning a single network address

For those interested in scanning a single network address, Scany permits entry of either the IP address or hostname. For any given host, a variety of scan options are available to choose from such as Interesting Services, Unix Services, Port Range, and Port List.

Enter hostname and select scan options

Selecting scan options

After scan options are selected and scanning has started, Scany updates -- in real time -- scan status and a list of findings, grouped into sections when complete: IP Address, Hostname, UPNP Name, TPC Ports, UDP Ports, Status (Online, ping-able, and firewall status), Hardware (MAC address, model, and vendor information) and Ping RTT. These final scan results can be copied, exported as a file, or emailed.

A small portion of scan results

A small portion of scan results

Scany, provides a ton of information, so it's easy to overlook the small information buttons scattered throughout the results section. For example, tapping the information button in the Hostname section conveniently displays all available WHOIS registration data for a given domain.

Information button displaying WHOIS data

Information button showing WHOIS data

Scany also sports a feature called Wake on LAN:

Wake on LAN screen

Scany's Wake on LAN screen

I enjoyed Scany's technique of showing traceroute data. This too, is continually  updated and refreshed in real time. (Please note data in the screenshot below has been truncated for display purposes.)

A condensed view of Scany's traceroute dump

A condensed view of Scany's traceroute dump

Scan a LAN

For network admins, Scany makes life easy with its IP range scanning feature, known as Scan LAN:

Use Scan LAN to scan a range of IP addresses

Use Scan LAN to scan a range of IP addresses 

Scan options are applied automatically to each host found within the range of starting and ending IP addresses.

Quick Tools and settings

Rounding out our tour of Scany, we find Quick Tools and Settings tucked away in the bottom right corner of the icon menu.  

Quick Tools provides a convenient one-stop-shopping scan menu ...

Quick Tools menu

Quick Tools menu.

... and Settings is the "go-to" place for fine-tuning scan parameters.

Scany's Settings menu

Scany's Settings screen.

Bottom line

About the only fault I can find with Scany is that I would have preferred to see an iPad-only version supporting landscape mode. That minor issue aside, I found Scany to be a reliable app, as well as fast and responsive. Most important, Scany is a genuinely useful app, one that can be especially useful for admins or other users interested in securing local networks.

It also doesn't hurt knowing Scany is a fun and enjoyable app to use.

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