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I am looking at scanning with nmap a large network in order to

  • identify the OS of devices (-O--osscan-limit)
  • probe for details of a service on a single port (I would have used -sV for all open ports)

The problem is that -sV will probe all the ports (which I do not want to do for performance reasons) and I cannot use -p to limit the ports to the one I am interested in as this impacts the OS fingerprinting. I could not find anything in the manual to limit the service probing.

Thank you for any ideas (including other approaches outside of nmap, though I would prefer to stick to nmap)

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can exclude ports from the service version scan phase by editing the Exclude directive in the nmap-service-probes file. This tells Nmap to avoid sending version probes to a list of ports. By default, TCP 9100-9107 are excluded to avoid printing rubbish characters on PJL-capable printers. To enable only one port (e.g. 80/tcp), use something like this:

Exclude T:0-79,81-65535,U:0-65535

The nmap-service-probes file is found in Nmap's data directory, which is also where it stores NSE scripts and libraries.

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Thanks - this is exactly what I was looking for (though nmap would have been better off using a command line switch instaed of the config file as this requires, in practical terms, a separate nmap install for the specific scan) – WoJ Dec 9 '12 at 9:01
@WoJ you can make Nmap use a different set of data files with the --datadir argument, or the $NMAPDIR environment variable, or by overriding any of them with a copy in $HOME/.nmap – bonsaiviking Dec 10 '12 at 1:22
Thanks - this makes it a perfect combination then. – WoJ Dec 10 '12 at 8:03

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