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Detect OS name and version from external

Posted on 2009-04-15
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Last Modified: 2013-12-27
Is there a way to detect the OS name and version before login to the system? If it does, is there way to prevent it?
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Question by:gs_kanata
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blu earned 400 total points
ID: 24149735
Depends. It used to be obvious, but for security reasons it has systematically been made less so. It used to be that many network services had banners that included the OS type and rev. Then those banners became configurable. Then they
stopped having the type and rev info at all. Nowadays, I don't think there is any banner that will tell you much in an obvious manner by default.

However, there have been great strides made in system "fingerprinting", i.e. identifying a system type and rev via remotely visible system behavior. The nmap program, for instance can do this automatically.

Once in a while bug are fixed to further obscure the fingerprints and make it ever harder. But it is a doomed quest, not worth the resources. Sure, you might not want to make it obvious, but you get diminishing returns. Consider what you are trying to hide and why.
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by:gheist
gheist earned 100 total points
ID: 24150352
Login prompt for telnet is in /etc/issue.net
You can run some TCP fingerprinting on client
Also SNMP is of help.
Just keep it all in legitimate borders.
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by:blu
ID: 24150880
>Login prompt for telnet is in /etc/issue.net

Not on Solaris it isn't
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by:gheist
ID: 24150928
By POSIX it is..
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by:blu
ID: 24151168
Really? I just did a full search at the opengroup.org website, and there are no hits on /etc/issue.net. But that is moot, since the one of the zones for this question is Solaris, and Solaris doesn't use /etc/issue.net.
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