Playing with tools has always been fun for me. You enjoy and learn at the same time. Netcat is a command-line networking tool which is able to read and write data across Transmission Control Protocol TCP and User Datagram Protocol. Originally coded for Unix, it was released in 1996 and has been ported to a number of operating systems and facts tell that it still stays strong in the game. It has been 17 years and netcat belongs in every network admin/security professional’s toolbox. People say “old is gold” and in my opinion this is true when it comes to netcat. Virtually, you can use netcat for everything and your imagination is the limit. Depending on what your intentions are you can use it for good or you can use it for bad. Netcat operates as a client and as a server. Even if there are few exceptions, netcat’s command options are the same for both Windows and Linux and this makes netcat a more powerful tool. In the next article you will be introduced to netcat command options and will learn how perform some basic operations with netcat.