Master hping3 and Enhance Your Network Strength

Rohan Timalsina


Hping3 is a powerful network tool that specializes in the generation, analysis, and transmission of IP packets. It's like an advanced ping utility, but with more capabilities, allowing users to test and probe networks in various sophisticated ways. Hping3 is highly revered in the realms of network security and testing, as it’s versatile, enabling tasks such as network scanning, tracerouting, and firewall rule testing among others.

In this article, we will embark on a journey exploring the diverse functionalities and applications of hping3. Starting off with a brief background and installation guide, the article will walk you through its basic concepts and command-line syntax, aiding you in getting comfortable with its operations. Through practical examples, we’ll delve into basic and advanced usages of hping3, covering aspects like pinging hosts, tracerouting, and even advanced packet crafting. Essential topics such as the security implications, ethical use, and troubleshooting of hping3 will also be illuminated, ensuring that you are well-prepared to use the tool responsibly and effectively. Moreover, real-world applications, comparisons with other tools, and a well-rounded FAQ section will enhance your learning, offering a comprehensive understanding of hping3 and its powerful capabilities.


Install hping3 on different Operating Systems

hping3 is pre-installed in Kali Linux. If it is not found in your system, you can run the following commands to install hping3 according to your Linux distribution.

# For Linux (Debian/Ubuntu)
sudo apt-get update         # Update package lists
sudo apt-get install hping3 # Install hping3

# For Linux (RHEL/CentOS)
sudo dnf install hping3 # Install hping3

# For Windows
# Hping3 is not natively available for Windows. However, you can use it within a Cygwin environment or use Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).
# Install Cygwin from
# After installing Cygwin, run the following command:
apt-cyg install hping3

# For MacOS
brew install hping # Install hping3 using Homebrew


Basic Concepts of hping3

Understanding the command line syntax, flags, and the protocols supported by hping3 is crucial for effectively utilizing the tool. Below are explanations of these essential concepts.

Hping3 commands are executed in the terminal or command prompt. The basic syntax involves calling hping3, followed by various options (flags) and the target. Here is a generic representation:

hping3 [flags] target

Flags are options that modify the behavior of the hping3 command. There are many flags, and they can be categorized based on their functions such as controlling packet size, setting the type of protocol, and others. Here are a few examples:

  • -1: This flag tells hping3 to send an ICMP ping.
  • -2: Indicates a UDP packet.
  • --scan: Used to specify a range of ports to scan.
  • -p: Allows you to set the destination port.

For example, to send a TCP SYN packet to port 80 of a specific target, you would use:

hping3 -S -p 80 target

Hping3 supports a variety of protocols to cater to different testing needs. The three main ones are:

  • TCP (Transmission Control Protocol): TCP is a connection-oriented protocol. Hping3 can send custom TCP packets, like SYN or FIN packets, to probe network configurations.
  • UDP (User Datagram Protocol): UDP is a connectionless protocol. Hping3 can send UDP packets to arbitrary ports, which is useful for testing how a network handles such packets.
  • ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol): Hping3 can send ICMP packets, commonly used in ping commands, to check the reachability of network hosts.


Basic Usage and Examples

Understanding the basic usage of hping3 through practical examples is key to grasping its functionalities. Let’s walk through some fundamental operations such as pinging hosts, performing traceroute operations, and scanning ports.


1. Pinging Hosts

Pinging hosts is a common operation to check the reachability of a network device. Here’s how you can do it with hping3:

# Pinging a host using ICMP
hping3 -1

# Pinging a host on a specific port using TCP (e.g., port 80)
hping3 -S -p 80


2. Traceroute Operations

Traceroute operations help identify the paths that packets take from the source to a destination. Here’s how to perform a traceroute with hping3:

# Performing a traceroute using ICMP
hping3 --traceroute -1

# Performing a traceroute on a specific port using TCP (e.g., port 80)
hping3 --traceroute -S -p 80


3. Port Scanning

Port scanning is used to discover open ports on a network device. Here are examples of how to perform a port scan with hping3:

# Scanning a range of ports (e.g., 20-100)
hping3 --scan 20-100 -S

# Scanning a specific port using TCP (e.g., port 22)
hping3 -S -p 22


Advanced Features and Usage of hping3

Hping3 isn’t just a tool for basic network probing and analysis; it also possesses advanced features that offer robust capabilities for network testing and security. Let’s delve into these features such as traffic generation and flooding, testing network policies and firewalls, and advanced packet crafting.


1. Traffic Generation and Flooding

Generating traffic and conducting flood attacks (for testing purposes) help in evaluating the resilience and performance of a network under stress.

# Sending numerous SYN packets to a specific port to simulate traffic
hping3 -S --flood -p 80


2. Testing Network Policies and Firewalls

Hping3 can be utilized to test the effectiveness of network policies and firewalls by crafting specialized packets to see if they are allowed or blocked by network filters.

# Testing firewall rules by sending a TCP packet to a closed port
hping3 -S -p 4444


3. Advanced Packet Crafting

Creating custom packets by specifying various attributes like flags, window size, and more, allows for thorough testing and analysis of network configurations.

# Crafting a packet with a custom TCP flag, window size and more
hping3 -c 1 -S -p 80 --win 512 --ttl 50


4. Idle Scanning

Idle scanning is a stealthy technique where the scanner remains anonymous. It involves using a zombie host to gather information about the target.

# Performing an idle scan using a zombie host
hping3 -Q -1 -a Zombie_Host_IP Target_IP


5. Manipulating Flags

Craft packets with different flag settings to analyze network responses.

# Sending a packet with FIN, URG, and PSH flags set
hping3 -F -U -P -p 80 Target_IP


6. Sending Files Over Packets

Transferring files or data covertly by embedding them within packets.

# Sending a file disguised within ICMP packets
hping3 -1 -E file_to_send.txt Target_IP


7. Adjusting Packet Sizes and Intervals

Modify packet sizes and intervals for specific testing scenarios.

# Sending TCP SYN packets with a data size of 200 bytes every 5 seconds
hping3 -S -d 200 -i 5 -p 80 Target_IP


8. Fast Scanning

Speed up the scanning process by sending numerous packets in a short time.

# Sending many SYN packets quickly to scan multiple ports
hping3 --fast -S -p ++21-25 Target_IP


9. Spoofing Source IP Address

Spoofing the source IP address to obfuscate the origin of the packets.

# Sending packets with a spoofed source IP
hping3 -a Spoofed_IP -S -p 80 Target_IP


10. Testing Specific Network Routes

Sending packets through specific routes to test their viability.

# Sending packets using a specific gateway
hping3 --route --gw Gateway_IP -S Target_IP


11. Testing Network Latency and Loss

Evaluate the network's performance in terms of latency and packet loss.

# Sending packets to measure latency and observe packet loss
hping3 --udp -p 53 --keep Target_IP


Frequently Asked Questions on Hping3

What is hping3 used for?

Hping3 is a versatile command-line tool primarily used for network probing and analysis. It can craft and send packets, allowing users to perform operations like pinging, port scanning, testing firewalls, and evaluating network performance and security.

How do I install hping3?

Installing hping3 varies based on the operating system. For Debian/Ubuntu Linux, you can install it using sudo apt-get install hping3. MacOS users can use Homebrew, running brew install hping. Windows users can use it within Cygwin or the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

Can hping3 perform a traceroute operation?

Yes, hping3 can conduct traceroute operations. By using the --traceroute option along with other flags, you can trace the path packets take to reach the destination host.

Is hping3 only used for malicious activities like DoS attacks?

No, hping3 is a tool used by network administrators and cybersecurity professionals for legitimate network analysis and testing purposes. While it can be used maliciously, like many networking tools, its design and primary function serve network security and analysis.

How do I specify different packet sizes using hping3?

You can define the packet sizes using the -d option followed by the size in bytes. For example, hping3 -d 100 Target_IP would send packets of 100 bytes.

Can hping3 work with different protocols like TCP, UDP, and ICMP?

Yes, hping3 is versatile and supports various protocols including TCP, UDP, and ICMP, allowing for a broad range of network testing capabilities.

How does hping3 help in firewall testing?

Hping3 can craft custom packets that help in testing firewall rules and configurations, allowing administrators to identify whether the firewall is effectively filtering and blocking malicious or unauthorized traffic.

What is the significance of different flags in hping3?

Flags in hping3 modify the behavior of the command, allowing customization of the packets sent. They can dictate aspects such as protocol type, packet size, and various other packet attributes and command behaviors.

How do I prevent hping3 attacks on my network?

Implement robust firewall rules, employ rate limiting, and set up alerting and monitoring to detect and mitigate unusual traffic patterns or volumes that could indicate an hping3 attack or similar network probing activities.

Can hping3 be used for port scanning?

Yes, hping3 is capable of performing port scanning to identify open ports on a network device. You can specify a range of ports to scan and identify network services that are exposed and potentially vulnerable.


Summarizing Key Takeaways

Hping3 is a powerful and versatile command-line tool primarily designed for network analysis and security testing. It allows users to craft and send custom packets, enabling functionalities such as pinging, port scanning, firewall testing, and more. Its adaptability makes it an indispensable tool for network administrators and cybersecurity professionals, helping assess and enhance network resilience, performance, and security.

Key Takeaways:

  • Versatility: Hping3 supports a wide array of functionalities, ranging from basic pinging to advanced packet crafting and analysis.
  • Customization: The tool allows for detailed customization of packets, aiding in thorough and specific network tests and analyses.
  • Security: While powerful, hping3 should always be used ethically and responsibly, with due consideration given to the security and integrity of network environments.

Refer to the official documentation for a comprehensive guide and detailed insights into hping3’s functionalities and usage: man page of hping3


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Rohan Timalsina

He is proficient in a wide range of skills, including Page Builder Plugins such as Elementor, Beaver Builder, Visual Composer, and Divi Builder. His expertise extends to Front End Development with HTML5/CSS3, JavaScript, Bootstrap, and React.js. You can reach out to him on LinkedIn or check his projects on GitHub page.

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