Pings and Scans
Ping, an acronym for "Packet Inter-Network Groper," is a utility that allows users to verify the existence of a particular IP address, based on either its numerical identifier, or domain name. This simple program can be used to find out if a computer is able to respond. It accomplishes this by sending a packet of information and waiting to get a response back from the IP.
The term "ping" was created to mirror the submariners' term for a returned sonar pulse. It was only later fashioned into an acronym.
A popular technique used by computer hackers is a port scan—a series of messages sent to various ports of a computer network in order to determine which are used, and therefore potentially vulnerable. After a port scan is initially sent, the configuration of the returned message can indicate whether or not the port is vulnerable.
There are a variety of different port scans.
The appearance of pings and port scans on your firewall log is not necessarily indicative of an attempted attack on your network. If you feel there is a threat to your network, you should consult the computer professional of your choice.
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