nikto (1) - Linux Manuals

nikto: Scan web server for known vulnerabilities


nikto - Scan web server for known vulnerabilities


/usr/local/bin/nikto [options...]


Examine a web server to find potential problems and security vulnerabilities, including:

•Server and software misconfigurations

•Default files and programs

•Insecure files and programs

•Outdated servers and programs

Nikto is built on LibWhisker (by RFP) and can run on any platform which has a Perl environment. It supports SSL, proxies, host authentication, IDS evasion and more. It can be updated automatically from the command-line, and supports the optional submission of updated version data back to the maintainers.


Below are all of the Nikto command line options and explanations. A brief version of this text is available by running Nikto with the -h (-help) option.


Scan these CGI directories. Special words "none" or "all" may be used to scan all CGI directories or none, (respectively). A literal value for a CGI directory such as "/cgi-test/" may be specified (must include trailing slash). If this is option is not specified, all CGI directories listed in config.txt will be tested.


Specify an alternative config file to use instead of the config.txt located in the install directory.


Check the scan databases for syntax errors.


Control the output that Nikto shows. See Chapter 5 for detailed information on these options. Use the reference number or letter to specify the type, multiple may be used:

1 - Show redirects

2 - Show cookies received

3 - Show all 200/OK responses

4 - Show URLs which require authentication

D - Debug Output

V - Verbose Output


Specify the LibWhisker IDS evasion technique to use (see the LibWhisker docs for detailed information on these). Use the reference number to specify the type, multiple may be used:

1 - Random URI encoding (non-UTF8)

2 - Directory self-reference (/./)

3 - Premature URL ending

4 - Prepend long random string

5 - Fake parameter

6 - TAB as request spacer

7 - Change the case of the URL

8 - Use Windows directory separator (\)


Only discover the HTTP(S) ports, do not perform a security scan. This will attempt to connect with HTTP or HTTPS, and report the Server header.


Save the output file specified with -o (-output) option in this format. If not specified, the default will be taken from the file extension specified in the -output option. Valid formats are:

csv - a comma-seperated list

htm - an HTML report

txt - a text report

xml - an XML report


Host(s) to target. Can be an IP address, hostname or text file of hosts. A single dash (-) maybe used for stdout. Can also parse nmap -oG style output


Display extended help information.


ID and password to use for host Basic host authentication. Format is "id:password".


Will list all plugins that Nikto can run against targets and then will exit without performing a scan. These can be tuned for a session using the -plugins option.

The output format is:

Plugin name

 full name - description

 Written by author, Copyright (C) copyright


Specify mutation technique. A mutation will cause Nikto to combine tests or attempt to guess values. These techniques may cause a tremendous amount of tests to be launched against the target. Use the reference number to specify the type, multiple may be used:

1 - Test all files with all root directories

2 - Guess for password file names

3 - Enumerate user names via Apache (/~user type requests)

4 - Enumerate user names via cgiwrap (/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/~user type requests)

5 - Attempt to brute force sub-domain names, assume that the host name is the parent domain

6 - Attempt to guess directory names from the supplied dictionary file


Provide extra information for mutates, e.g. a dictionary file


Do not perform name lookups on IP addresses.


Do not use SSL to connect to the server.


Disable 404 (file not found) checking. This will reduce the total number of requests made to the webserver and may be preferable when checking a server over a slow link, or an embedded device. This will generally lead to more false positives being discovered.


Write output to the file specified. The format used will be taken from the file extension. This can be over-riden by using the -Format option (e.g. to write text files with a different extenstion. Existing files will have new information appended.


Select which plugins will be run on the specified targets. A comma separated list should be provided which lists the names of the plugins. The names can be found by using -list-plugins.

There are two special entries: ALL, which specifies all plugins shall be run and NONE, which specifies no plugins shall be run. The default is ALL


TCP port(s) to target. To test more than one port on the same host, specify the list of ports in the -p (-port) option. Ports can be specified as a range (i.e., 80-90), or as a comma-delimited list, (i.e., 80,88,90). If not specified, port 80 is used.


Seconds to delay between each test.


Prepend the value specified to the beginning of every request. This is useful to test applications or web servers which have all of their files under a certain directory.


Only test SSL on the ports specified. Using this option will dramatically speed up requests to HTTPS ports, since otherwise the HTTP request will have to timeout first.


Perform a single request to a target server. Nikto will prompt for all options which can be specified, and then report the detailed output. See Chapter 5 for detailed information.


Seconds to wait before timing out a request. Default timeout is 10 seconds.


Tuning options will control the test that Nikto will use against a target. By default, if any options are specified, only those tests will be performed. If the "x" option is used, it will reverse the logic and exclude only those tests. Use the reference number or letter to specify the type, multiple may be used:

0 - File Upload

1 - Interesting File / Seen in logs

2 - Misconfiguration / Default File

3 - Information Disclosure

4 - Injection (XSS/Script/HTML)

5 - Remote File Retrieval - Inside Web Root

6 - Denial of Service

7 - Remote File Retrieval - Server Wide

8 - Command Execution / Remote Shell

9 - SQL Injection

a - Authentication Bypass

b - Software Identification

c - Remote Source Inclusion

x - Reverse Tuning Options (i.e., include all except specified)

The given string will be parsed from left to right, any x characters will apply to all characters to the right of the character.


Use the HTTP proxy defined in the configuration file.


Update the plugins and databases directly from


Display the Nikto software, plugin and database versions.


Specify the Host header to be sent to the target.



The Nikto configuration file. This sets Nikto's global options. Several nikto.conf files may exist and are parsed in the below order. As each configuration file is loaded is supersedes any previously set configuration:

•System wide (e.g. /etc/nikto.conf)

•Home directory (e.g. $HOME/nikto.conf)

•Current directory (e.g. ./nikto.conf)


db files are the databases that nikto uses to check for vulnerabilities and issues within the web server.


All nikto's plugins exist here. Nikto itself is just a wrapper script to manage CLI and pass through to the plugins.


Contains the templates for nikto's output formats.


The current features are not supported:

•SOCKS Proxies


Nikto was originally written and maintained by Sullo, CIRT, Inc. It is currently maintained by David Lodge. See the main documentation for other contributors.

All code is (C) CIRT, Inc., except LibWhisker which is (C) rfp.labs ( Other portions of code may be (C) as specified.


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