13 June 2021

How to use Shodan Search Engine?

By DICC Institute

Shodan is nothing but a popular search engine just like Google but the operation of this search engine is somewhat different from all other search engines. Through this search engine, we can simply search for internet-connected devices. This is established with the use of different kind of routers as well as servers to the internet of things (IoT) devices. The devices such as thermostat and baby monitor as well. Apart from this it also governs a wide range of complex system used in industries of power, energy as well transportation.

This search engine Shodan can find anything that simply connects with the internet. One more thing to observe here that if your internet-facing devices are not protected then Shodan can tell the hackers everything that they may require to break inside your network which is kind of dangerous. This thing does not mean that Shodan is been designed by hackers but it’s true it’s mostly used by hackers nowadays. Shodan is even a crucial resource that is mostly used by cybersecurity professional or experts to help individual, mainly small and big enterprises and even various public utilities from several cyber-attacks going on.

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All this simply imply that that the application of Shodan can simply be used by anyone to search for any internet connecting device and will also let you see if something is or is not publically available. Just one thing to remember here is that searching through the Shodan search engine is a little bit complicated than a basic search engine. Till now you must have understood that this article is all about the Shodan search engine. Shodan is a search engine kind of similar to Google search engine. The users of this search engine can make searches based on an IP address, device name, city and all other variety of technical topics as well. In here users can sign up for free accounts but one thing to take care that these accounts are kind of limited. The limit here is about 50 free searches service after that the platform would ask you to pay the amount for monthly or yearly subscription.

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The platform started in 2003 just as a pet project for young computer programmers by Mr John Matherly. The person figured out a way through which each device can be mapped so that it can remain connected to the internet constantly with a process of crawling the web for randomly generated IP addresses and after studying all this thoroughly he came with an idea of developing a search engine to search through his growing database of the internet connecting devices. After various kind of testing, this search engine was finally launched in front of the public in 2009. However, the inventor does not have any intention to make any platform that can be highly used by hackers. But now hackers make use of this very search engine to discover various devices and then affiliate them. Now the main question here is how does Shodan work.

Well, the search engine works mainly by requesting connections to all the possible imaginable internet protocol address on the internet and then indexing all the gathered information that it achieves from the connections being established before. The search engine crawls on the very web for possible devices using the global network of computers and the servers that are running 24/7. The IP address maintained on every device act here as the digital signature. It is something that allows google to tailor all kind of searches going in the location. One can also say that it is something that allows all internet-connected devices to establish proper communication with each other. As we have known the internet connecting devices have special ports maintained for collecting a different kind of information or data. Once the device is established with the IP address one can easily establish a connection with its ports. These ports are for a wide range of activities such as emails, browser activities, connecting the printers and routers and for many others activities too. Shodan works by knocking at all the possible ports with IP address.

Some of the ports does not return anything but many of them respond with the banners that mostly contain important metadata about the devices Shodan is being used in. Banners consist of various kind of information such as the name of the device, IP address, ports available and in use, organizations and of course the location. Apart from all this information some devices even include the default login and password, make and model as well the software version. All this information can be exploited by hackers in many possible ways. Thus, any device that can be connected to the internet can be potentially shown up on Shodan. However, it is used in several devices such as baby monitors, internet routers, security cameras, maritime satellite, water treatment facilities, traffic light systems, prison payphones and nuclear power plants as well.

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