Scany: Network scanner for iOS

Over the past five years I tested quite a few iOS applications that could be used for providing quick snaps of the local network. Most of them were free applications and very often lacking either functionality or having notable bugs in the network scanning process and/or the user interface. Recently I got a review copy of Scany, a networking tool for iOS devices and it quickly became my go to app for this type of work.

With Scany you can perform a wide range of sweeps: from scanning a simple local/remote host to scanning an IP range. With every scan you can go into details by selecting or even modifying one of the available preset scanning profiles.

The first scan preset is labeled “interesting services” and it contains 30 of the most used services ranging from HTTP to MySQL and TFTP. This scan provides a quick snapshot of the “typical” deamons listening on their appropriate ports. Results of this scan can be of use to admins, as well as penetration testers in the reconnaissance phase of their work.

The “UNIX services” preset is more complex and the scanning will take more time. It contains a preloaded list of almost 1,000 services and the ports they usually listen on. You shouldn’t expect fingerprinting from Scany – for instance, if you run Apache on port 22, it will identify it as SSH.

In case you just need to scan for ports, Scany provides two features that support this. You can set up a list of predefined UDP and TCP ports (for instance for multiple scans of the same types of network), or use it as a classical port scanner, with the possibility of setting up first and last port numbers. The final scan type – “Just Hosts” – is self-explanatory and could be used for scanning a network for live hosts.

The scan process is fast. Output is provided in a simple-to-analyze, “hackerish” green/black GUI with good export options. Besides copy/pasting the hostname, IP address or the actual results into another iOS application, you can easily send the data via email. Results can be either sent as the message of the email (for easier reading or even automatic parsing on the receiver’s end), or in a .txt or a structured .scany file.

I was introduced to Scany with an email titled “The Swiss Army Knife of apps for Network professionals”. Although it sounds like a marketing phrase, this is indeed a correct description of this useful application. Besides the scanning functionality, it also provides a set of invaluable, quick tools. The whole list of tools can be seen in the screenshot below, so I’ll just highlight a few of them that I found the most useful.

Wi-Fi/LAN scan is a nifty module that scans the network you are connected to. There is no need to input the IP addresses or the range, just hit scan and the app will find live hosts and profile them for you. This is an easy way to find out what’s the IP address of your Sony TV, or for instance whether someone is piggybacking on your WLAN.

Whenever I look at a new product, and especially if it’s for the purpose of a review, I try to find bugs and in 99 percent of cases I do come across some issues. From the functionality perspective, Scany seems to have everything in place, I just found two slight usability issues with sections of the user interface. The quirks are located on the “Groups” screen (one IP range scan spread into couple of scan groups without a valid reason) and the “Scan New Host” screen (tapping over a scan profile is sometimes used for selecting the profile and other times for customizing it). Besides these easily fixable quirks, the app looks and feels good.

Judging by the information available on the App Store, the developers deliver one update per year, but the last refresh from April this year was packed with over 50 new and improved elements. Scany is designed to work on all iOS devices including iPhone and iPad. For this review I ran the app on my test iPhone 6. I also used it briefly on an iPad and it seems to work as well as on the iPhone.

The current price for Scany is $3.99 and it is definitely a tool for network professionals, as well as anyone needing a portable networking app.

Don't miss