What is Shodan?
Many people have described Shodan as a search engine for hackers, and have even called it “the world’s most dangerous search engine”. It was developed by John Matherly in 2009, and unlike other search engines such as google, yahoo, etc, it looks for specific information that can be invaluable to hackers.
Who is John Matherly?
John Matherly is an Internet cartographer, speaker, and founder of Shodan, the world’s first search engine for the Internet-connected devices. Born and raised in Switzerland, he attended the Freies Gymnasium in Zurich where he majored in business and law until he moved to the San Diego, USA at the age of 17.
There he worked at the San Diego Supercomputer Center to help manage the world’s foremost protein data bank. At the same time, he was also attending the University of California San Diego’s bioinformatics program which would kindle the fascination with large data and efficient algorithms. His final project included analyzing the human genome for exon code regions and mapping them to proteins while accounting for alternative splicing. After graduating, he worked as a freelance software engineer at a variety of companies including bioinformatics work.
Launched Shodan Search Engine for Hackers
In 2009, his project the Shodan search engine was unveiled on Twitter and within hours the website received a lot of attention due to the unexpected discoveries that people made. Printers, webcams, power plants and more, many of them unprotected or minimally protected, were found over time and the revelations have changed the way security and privacy on the Internet is perceived. Shodan is already seeing TVs, cell phones, traffic lights, industrial controls, infrastructure plants and various home appliances pop-up in the search results. And more of these “Internet of Things” are added each day as the world is becoming more connected. For the past years, he has been featured in the news on CNBC, CNN Money, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Forbes and many others.
Shodan is a type of search engine that allows users to search for Internet-connected devices and explicit website information such as the type of software running on a particular system and local anonymous FTP servers. Shodan can be used much in the same way as Google, but, it indexes information based on banner content, which is meta-data that servers send back to hosting clients. For the best results, Shodan searches should be executed using a series of filters in a string format.
So, in conclusion, we can say that Shodan is a search engine for finding specific devices, information about that devices, and device types, that exist online. It is like an internet map that let us see which device is connected to each other and which ports are open on a specific device or what operating system a certain system or device is using, etc. Rather than to locate specific content on a particular search term, SHODAN is designed to help the user find specific nodes (desktops, servers, routers, switches, etc.) with specific content in their banners.
What can Shodan do?
Shodan pulls service banners from servers and devices on the web, mostly port 80, but also ports 21 (ftp), 22 (SSH), 23 (telnet), 161 (SNMP), and 5060 (SIP). Since almost every new device now has a web interface (maybe even your refrigerator) to ease remote management, we can access innumerable web-enabled servers, network devices, home security systems, etc. Shodan can find us webcams, traffic signals, video projectors, routers, home heating systems, and SCADA systems that, for instance, control nuclear power plants and electrical grids. If it has a web interface, Shodan can find it! Although many of these systems communicate over port 80 using HTTP, many use telnet or other protocols over other ports. Keep that in mind when trying to connect to them.
How to use Shodan?
Understanding shodan is very important at first you might find it complex but once you get to know it you will find it very handy in use and very resourceful too. So, now let us learn how to work with fascinating search engine. To use shodan to your advantage you have to:
Follow the steps to register. After registration, a link will be sent to your e-mail ID for your activation of account on Shodan. Once your account is activated login to Shodan and now that you are logged in you are free to search anything.
Here are some examples for which you can use shodan to search up the things you want.
Webcam When you search for webcam, it will show you all the webcam present in the world.
Exploits: when you search for this term, it will show all the results having the search of exploits..!
Find GPS Devices by Shodan Search Engine for Hackers
Shodan even lets you find all the GPS devices all over the world and for this you just have to type GPS in the search box Port Not only the devices but it can help find which port is open in which device. For example, I have here searched port: 1723. Now we all know this port is used for VPN so through this we can know which device is using VPN.
This is how Shodan is useful for hackers as it gives all the information necessary to collect that too all over the world. And so you can manipulate this information as you desire.
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