May 18, 2024

OSINT Tools: Shodan

3 min read

What is Shodan?

Shodan is a search engine designed to locate and catalog devices connected to the internet. Unlike traditional search engines like Google, Shodan doesn’t index web pages; it indexes information about devices, such as webcams, routers, servers, and more. It’s primarily used by security professionals, researchers, and ethical hackers to identify exposed devices and vulnerabilities.

Installing Shodan CLI

To get started with Shodan, you’ll need to install the command-line interface (CLI) on your computer. Here’s how to do it:

1. Sign Up for a Shodan Account

Before you can use Shodan, you need to sign up for a Shodan account. Go to Shodan’s registration page and follow the registration process. You will receive an API key that you’ll need later.

2. Install Python

Shodan CLI is written in Python, so make sure you have Python installed on your system. You can download it from the official Python website.

3. Install Shodan CLI

Once Python is installed, open your terminal (command prompt on Windows or a terminal emulator on Linux/macOS) and run the following command to install the Shodan CLI using pip, Python’s package manager:


pip install shodan

4. Authenticate with Your Shodan API Key

To use Shodan CLI, you’ll need to authenticate with your Shodan API key. Replace <YOUR_API_KEY> with the API key you received during registration:


shodan init <YOUR_API_KEY>

Using Shodan CLI

With Shodan CLI installed and authenticated, you can start using it to search for information about devices on the internet. Here are some common commands to get you started:

1. Basic Search

To perform a basic search for a specific query, use the following syntax:


shodan search <your query>

For example, to find webcams in New York City, you can use:


shodan search webcam city:"New York"

2. Filter Search Results

You can filter your search results to narrow down the list of devices that match your criteria. For example, to find Apache web servers in Germany:


shodan search apache country:DE

3. Host Information

To retrieve detailed information about a specific host or IP address, use the host command:


shodan host <host or IP>

For example:


shodan host

4. Additional Commands

Shodan CLI offers many more commands and options for advanced searches and data analysis. You can explore these by typing shodan --help in your terminal.

Using Shodan on the Web

In addition to the command-line interface, Shodan also offers a web interface that provides a user-friendly way to explore and analyze data. To access Shodan’s web interface, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Shodan website at
  2. Log in with your Shodan account credentials.
  3. You can use the search bar at the top of the page to enter your queries and explore the results.
  4. The web interface offers various filters and visualization options to help you refine your searches and gain insights.

Responsible Use of Shodan

While Shodan is a valuable tool for security research and network reconnaissance, it’s essential to use it responsibly and ethically. Avoid using it for malicious purposes or attempting to exploit vulnerabilities you discover. Always seek permission before scanning or probing any network or device that you don’t own or have explicit authorization to test.

In conclusion, Shodan can be a powerful ally in understanding the state of devices and networks on the internet. By following the installation steps and using the Shodan CLI responsibly, you can enhance your cybersecurity knowledge and contribute to a safer digital environment. Happy searching!

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