Meet Shodan The Hacker Search Engine

Estimated read time 3 min read

Ever wondered if there’s a search engine that does more than find coffee shops or movie times? What if we told you there’s one that can scan, identify, and even alert you to vulnerabilities in internet-connected devices?

Meet Shodan, a tool that both cybersecurity experts and hackers find invaluable.

What Sets Shodan Apart?

Unlike Google or Bing, Shodan isn’t interested in websites. Instead, it scans for devices connected to the internet.

How does it work? Shodan performs port scans, identifies running services, and even gives you a heads-up if there’s a vulnerability, complete with CVE codes. Imagine it this way: Shodan is knocking on every IP door on the internet and taking notes on who answers.

Accessing Shodan: Your First Step into a Larger World

Feeling intrigued? Head over to to get started. A simple registration process is all that stands between you and a world of passive discovery operations. Shodan even gives you a cheatsheet to help you navigate.

Navigating Shodan: A CheatSheet


Use this parameter to input server information and discover more about that specific server. For instance, using the command server: apache 2.2.4 will list servers running Apache 2.2.4. This could be your first step in vulnerability assessment.


Want to search using domain names or subdomains? The hostname parameter is what you need. A query like reveals all Google servers.


Need to search based on an IP address or CIDR value? Use the Net parameter. For example, net: will help you identify systems within this IP range.


Want to sift through targets based on operating systems? Use OS for that. Imagine using os:Windows 11 to locate all unsupported Windows 11 systems.


This is useful for identifying systems based on their open ports. You can be as broad or specific as you like. For example, port:444 would target systems with port 444 open.


If you’re focusing on a particular organization, org is the parameter you’ll want to use. Input org:Apple and you’ll find all devices belonging to Apple.

City and Country

You can also narrow down your search to a specific location using city and country. For example, city:Istanbul will return all devices in Istanbul.


For even more targeted searching, geo allows you to use latitude and longitude coordinates.


This API-only feature lets you find systems that have been active between specific dates.


This shows systems with open remote desktop access. Imagine the data you could collect with this.


Use this to find devices based on the information in their titles. For example, title:Citrix Gateway will find you all Citrix Gateway devices.

Real-world Applications of Shodan

Uncover Weak WordPress Configurations

Shodan can help you find WordPress sites where wp-config.php is openly accessible. That’s a security nightmare waiting to happen.

Identify FTP Anonymous Access

Using Shodan, you can detect systems that allow anonymous FTP access. That’s a lot of data potentially exposed.

In summary, Shodan is more than a search engine; it’s a powerful tool for cybersecurity. Whether you’re protecting or probing, Shodan has something for you. So, why not give it a try?

Reza Rafati

Reza Rafati, based in the Netherlands, is the founder of An industry professional providing insightful commentary on infosec, cybercrime, cyberwar, and threat intelligence, Reza dedicates his work to bolster digital defenses and promote cyber awareness.

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