Ofcourse to thanks Fyodor (on the left on the picture) for being
so kind to make some time in his busy live to fill in the questions and
also Rain.Forest.Puppy for making the intoduction below:
"Quite honestly, I own a lot of my professional
success to Fyodor; nmap has proven to not be just a 'nice' tool,
but rather a literal requirement that I have
built many tools and techniques upon. But of course, there is more
to Fyodor beyond nmap--and I hope this interview will demonstrate that.
I've had the fortune of hanging out with Fyodor on a couple of occasions,
and beyond being a severly sharp dude, he is definately someone worthy
> How did you come up with the name Fyodor?
Possibly from: Fyodor Mikhailovich
> Dostoevsky (1821-1881) ?
Exactly. When I picked the handle I had recently read and enjoyed
"Notes from Underground". Sometimes people assume I must be some
of Dostoevsky expert, and this is not the case. He's not even
favorite author. So I feel a little bad when people send me long
emails expounding on some interpretation they have about "The Brothers
Karamazov" and asking my opinion. I have to tell them "sorry,
hardly remember the plot". Even worse, is when people assume
handle that I am Russian, and they send me email that my mail reader
cannot even render.
> Have you had any other nicks before Fyodor?
> Have you been in "hacking" groups back in the
days ? and what where you doing
> before nmap became such an success ?
Before Nmap, I worked on several other security resources. Such
"exploit world" (which is still around, but way too dated). My
previous site was called "Fyodor's Playhouse". Before that, I
mostly active in local (602) BBS's.
> How many computers do you have home at this
Well, in order to develop network exploration tools such as Nmap, it
is important that I have a decent network at home. At least that
the excuse I use to continue buying new boxes :). Lets see, the
computers I have at the moment are:
5 Linux boxes (amy; db; hopelessly; playground; zardoz)
1 FreeBSD 3.0-Release box (freedom)
1 OpenBSD 2.5 box (vectra)
4 Solaris boxes (an IPC, SLC, ELC, and Sparc2)
2 HP Envizex X-terms
1 HP 382 workstations (not working at the moment)
With this network going, I don't need a heater for my apartment :).
> What operating systems do you work with and
what is your favorite?
As the list above shows, I'm kindof partial to Linux :). But I
*BSD are great too. And even Solaris has its good points.
never really liked IRIX, HP-UX, Windows, or VMS.
> What are some of your interests outside the
I like rock climbing, hiking, target shooting, and jogging. I
travelling and exploring unfamiliar cities.
In addition, I spend a lot of time reading books (Sci-Fi;Computer
crime), newspapers (New York Times; WSJ), magazines (Scientific
American, Barrons), etc.
> How has the success of nmap affected your life?
Well, it hasn't led to fortune. Not much fame either. And
found that it does NOT impress girls! So I guess the main effect
that I have to spend a lot of time answering support mails.
Just kidding :). It has actually been a wonderful experience.
meat hundreds of incredible people through the project and I think
writing and (especially) maintaining a (somewhat) large program like
this has made me a better programmer. Also, I feel like I have
contributed something useful to the security community which has
provided me so much in the way of free tools.
> What would you consider to be the second best
I've always thought the classic scanner strobe  is a good piece of
software. Another great (newer) scanner is hping2 by Antirez
> Do you spend time on irc?
No. I mostly use personal email and email lists. If all
I want to do
is chat, I would rather just call up some hacker friends here in the
Valley and go out for a drink.
> What is your highest level of education?
I have a degree in Computer Science. A lot of hackers sneer at
education, but I thought college was a very valuable experience.
> How did you learn to program?
I started with BASIC on an Apple IIe. But on UNIX it was mostly
reading other people's code. This is one reason I'm such a strong
open souce advocate.
> How much time do you spend online daily?
It various a lot with what I am working on. When I am very focused
a cool project, I sometimes spend days at the computer without even
leaving my apartment. But generally I try to strike a balance
hacking and having a somewhaqt-decent social life.
> Are there other projects that you are working
Right now I'm working on several. Besides nmap improvements, I
working on an important addition to my web site which will be
announced soon. I am also working on several other projects:
ncrack, and sd. I'm not a fan of vaporware so I'll save the details
until they are ready.
> What is your number one bookmark and would you
like to share your
I have a lot of different interests on the web, but here are my
[ Security ]
Insecure.org of course :). Hackernews.com;
Technotronic.Com; Tons of mailing lists.
www.nytimes.com ; www.lwn.net; www.slashdot.org;
www.advogato.org; www.wsj.com; mailing lists
quote.yahoo.com; www.barrons.com; www.smartmmoney.com
> Did you help eeye with the nmap port ? what
if it's faster ;) ?
I helped a little in terms of understanding nmap internal structure.
But I didn't help with the porting to Windows, per se. And don't
worry, its not faster than the UNIX version :). If NmapNT ever
becomes competitive in that respect, I'll head straight for my
profiler and start optimizing :)
For more information about fyodor make sure you visit his site !
and shame on you if you have not been here before :