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Netcat is a very simple tool that can accomplish some fairly sophisticated tasks. At its most simple, netcat makes connections to or from both TCP and UDP ports. It can be used to connect to some service that is listening for a connection or it can be set as a listener waiting for a connection. The listener mode allows it to be used as a simple and lightweight means of re-establishing contact with a system. (a backdoor) Input/output redirection symbols (< and >) can be used to transfer files via netcat and the pipe symbol (|) can be used with netcat to create a relay that forwards connections and data to another connection. Netcat is often called the “swiss army knife” of networking tools because of the many uses and flexibility it demonstrates.

The GNU Netcat Project

Netcat is a featured networking utility which reads and writes data across network connections, using the TCP/IP protocol.

It is designed to be a reliable “back-end” tool that can be used directly or easily driven by other programs and scripts. At the same time, it is a feature-rich network debugging and exploration tool, since it can create almost any kind of connection you would need and has several interesting built-in capabilities.

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