Companion Notes on Hping(8)


HPing is a packet sniffer, also known as a packet analyzer, protocol analyzer or network analyzer. A packet sniffer is a hardware or software used to monitor network traffic. Sniffer examines the streams of data packets that flow between computers on a network as well as between networked computers and the larger Internet. These packets are intended for and addressed to specific machines but using a packet sniffer in “promiscuous mode” allows IT professionals, end users or malicious intruders to examine any type of packet, regardless of destination. Sniffers could be configured in two ways. The first is “unfiltered,” meaning this will capture all packets possible and write them to a local hard drive for later examination. Next is the “filtered” mode, meaning analyzers will only capture packets that contain specific data elements. Packet sniffers can be used on both wired and wireless networks. Their efficiency depends on how much they are able to “see” as a result of network security protocols. On a wired network, sniffers might need access to the packets of each connected machine or could also be restricted by the location of network switches. On a wireless network, most sniffers will solely scan one channel at a time, however the employment of multiple wireless interfaces will expand this capability.



  • Firewall testing
  • Advanced port scanning
  • Network testing, using different protocols, TOS, fragmentation
  • Manual path MTU discovery
  • Advanced traceroute, under all the supported protocols
  • Remote OS fingerprinting
  • Remote uptime guessing
  • TCP/IP stacks auditing
  • Hping can also be useful to students that are learning TCP/IP.

Prevalence and Risk Factors

Using a sniffer, we can capture any information-: for example, the websites that a user visits, what is viewed on the site, the contents and destination of any email along with details about any downloaded files. Protocol analyzers are usually utilized by firms to stay track of network use by staff and are part of the many respectable antivirus code packages. Outward-facing sniffers scan incoming network traffic for specific parts of malicious code, serving to forestall bug infections and limit the unfold of malware.

Some use-cases of hping

  • DOS attack ( SYN Flooding )
  • Smurf attack ( ICMP Flooding )

Dos Attack ( SYN flood Attack )

SYN flood attacks work by exploiting the 3 way handshake process of a TCP connection. A SYN flood is a form of DOS attack in which an attacker SYN requests successively to a target’s system in an attempt to consume enough server resources to make the system unresponsive to legitimate traffic. This is how the TCP 3-way-handshake process works : -

  1. The client requests a connection by sending a SYN (synchronize) message to the server.
  2. The server acknowledges this request by sending SYN-ACK back to the client.
  3. The client responds with an ACK, and the connection is established.

A SYN flood attack works by not responding to the server with the expected ACK code. The attacker can either simply not send the expected ACK, or by spoofing the source IP address in the SYN, causing the server to send the SYN-ACK to a falsified IP address - which will not send an ACK because it “knows” that it never sent a SYN.

Counter Measures

  • Filtering incoming SYN packets
  • Maintaining a SYN Cache
  • Keeping SYN cookies
  • Adjusting Firewalls and Proxies settings to perform deep packet filtering

Smurf Attack ( ICMP Flooding )

A ping flood could be a straightforward denial-of-service attack wherever the attacker overwhelms the victim with ICMP “echo request” (ping) packets. this is often best by exploiting the flood possibility of ping that sends ICMP packets as fast as possible while not expecting replies. This attack is a DDOS attack within which large numbers of internet control Message Protocol (ICMP) packets with the victim’s spoofed source ip are broadcast to a computer network using an IP broadcast address. Most devices on a network will, by default, reply to this by sending a reply to the source ip address. If the number of machines on the network that receive and respond to these packets is very large, the victim’s computer are going to be flooded with traffic. this can slow down the victim’s computer to the purpose where it becomes impossible to carry on.

Counter measures

  • Configure individual hosts and routers to not respond to ICMP requests or broadcasts
  • Configure routers to not forward packets directed to broadcast addresses.


SYN Flood Attack

#hping3 -S -V -p 3031 -c 1000 --flood --interface en0 --rand-source <VICTIM_IP> 
Flag Description
-S specify SYN attack
-V for Verbose
-p describes the port to attack on the victim’s IP address or DNS address
-c specifies the number of packets to be sent (count)
–flood specifies flood attack mode
–interface specifies the network interface used by the attacker
–rand-source specifies that the SYN packets need to be sent to the victim assuming random IP addresses in the network

ICMP Flood Attack

#hping3 -1 --flood -a <VICTIM_IP> <BROADCAST_NETWORK_RANGE> 
Flag Description
-1 specify ICMP attack
–flood specifies flood attack mode
-a flag used as a prefix before entering victim’s ip or DNS address