Chapter 3. Usage

Table of Contents

Basic Testing
Multiple Port Testing
Multiple Host Testing
Using a Proxy
Updating
Integration with Nessus
Interactive Features

Basic Testing

The most basic Nikto scan requires simply a host to target, since port 80 is assumed if none is specified. The host can either be an IP or a hostname of a machine, and is specified using the -h (-host) option. This will scan the IP 192.168.0.1 on TCP port 80:

perl nikto.pl -h 192.168.0.1

To check on a different port, specify the port number with the -p (-port) option. This will scan the IP 192.168.0.1 on TCP port 443:

perl nikto.pl -h 192.168.0.1 -p 443

Hosts, ports and protocols may also be specified by using a full URL syntax, and it will be scanned:

perl nikto.pl -h https://192.168.0.1:443/

There is no need to specify that port 443 may be SSL, as Nikto will first test regular HTTP and if that fails, HTTPS. If you are sure it is an SSL server, specifying -s (-ssl) will speed up the test.

perl nikto.pl -h 192.168.0.1 -p 443 -ssl
[Note]Note

The -mutate and -mutate-options parameters have been deprecated in nikto 2.1.2. Plugin selections, using the -Plugin parameter, should be used instead. Nikto will automagically turn a mutate option into the appropriate selection string.

More complex tests can be performed using the -mutate parameter, as detailed later. This can produce extra tests, some of which may be provided with extra parameters through the -mutate-options parameter. For example, using -mutate 3, with or without a file attempts to brute force usernames if the web server allows ~user URIs:

perl nikto.pl -h 192.168.0.1 -mutate 3 -mutate-options user-list.txt

Multiple Port Testing

Nikto can scan multiple ports in the same scanning session. To test more than one port on the same host, specify the list of ports in the -p (-port) option. Ports can be specified as a range (i.e., 80-90), or as a comma-delimited list, (i.e., 80,88,90). This will scan the host on ports 80, 88 and 443.

perl nikto.pl -h 192.168.0.1 -p 80,88,443

Multiple Host Testing

Nikto support scanning multiple hosts in the same session via a text file of host names or IPs. Instead of giving a host name or IP for the -h (-host) option, a file name can be given. A file of hosts must be formatted as one host per line, with the port number(s) at the end of each line. Ports can be separated from the host and other ports via a colon or a comma. If no port is specified, port 80 is assumed.

This is an example of a valid hosts file:

Example 3.1. Valid Hosts File

192.168.0.1:80
http://192.168.0.1:8080/
192.168.0.3

[Note]Note

For win32 users: due to peculiaries in the way that cmd.exe works with pipes, the above example may not work for you. In this case a temporary file will have to be used to store the output from nmap

A host file may also be an nmap output in "greppable" format (i.e. from the output from -oG).

A file may be passed to Nikto through stdout/stdin using a "-" as the filename. For example:

nmap -p80 192.168.0.0/24 -oG - | nikto.pl -h -

Using a Proxy

If the machine running Nikto only has access to the target host (or update server) via an HTTP proxy, the test can still be performed. There are two ways to use a proxy with Nikto, via the nikto.conf file or directly on the command line.

To use the nikto.conf file, set the PROXY* variables (as described in section 4), and then execute Nikto with the -useproxy option. All connections will be relayed through the HTTP proxy specified in the configuration file.

perl nikto.pl -h localhost -p 80 -useproxy

To set the proxy on the command line, use the -useproxy option with the proxy set as the argument, for example:

./nikto.pl -h localhost -useproxy http://localhost:8080/

Updating

Nikto can be automatically updated, assuming you have Internet connectivity from the host Nikto is installed on. To update to the latest plugins and databases, simply run Nikto with the -update command.

[Note]Note

The -update option cannot be abbreviated.

perl nikto.pl -update

If updates are required, you will see a list of the files downloaded:

 perl nikto.pl -update
 + Retrieving 'nikto_core.plugin'
 + Retrieving 'CHANGES.txt'
      

Updates may also be manually downloaded from the appropriate version's directory at http://cirt.net/nikto/UPDATES/. Plugin and database files from the server should replace those in the 'plugins' or 'databases' directories.

Integration with Nessus

Nessus (http://www.nessus.org/nessus/) can be configured to automatically launch Nikto when it finds a web server. Ensure Nikto works properly, that nikto.pl is in the PATH, and that nikto.nasl is present in the Nessus install. Run 'nessusd -R' and then restart nessusd.

See http://blog.tenablesecurity.com/2008/09/using-nessus-to.html for detailed instructions.

Interactive Features

Nikto contains several options which can be changed during an active scan, provided it is running on a system which provides POSIX support, which includes *nix and some other operating systems. On systems without POSIX support, these features will be silently disabled.

During an active scan, pressing any of the keys below will turn on or off the listed feature or perform the listed action. Note that these are case sensitive.

  • SPACE - Report current scan status

  • v - Turn verbose mode on/off

  • d - Turn debug mode on/off

  • e - Turn error reporting on/off

  • p - Turn progress reporting on/off

  • r - Turn redirect display on/off

  • c - Turn cookie display on/off

  • o - Turn OK display on/off

  • a - Turn auth display on/off

  • q - Quit

  • N - Next host

  • P - Pause