ONYPHE vs Shodan dorks – part 1

We stumbled upon an article written by ESTEBAN BORGES from SecurityTrails. This article shows how to query our main competitor Shodan with a TOP40 of best search requests. We thought it was a good start to perform some form of benchmarking by showing how you can achieve the same results, in even better and easier ways in order to find the most relevant information in your own context. Let’s dig into this TOP40 dorks by comparing Shodan results against ONYPHE results.

1. ONYPHE capabilities

We scan the full IPv4 Internet for roughly 200 ports on a monthly basis. Our goal is not only to identify assets with high precision, but also to give our customers the capability to find devices that belong to their organization in an easy and convenient way. Our approach is to first perform a cartography by starting from a domain name and pivoting around different values (or filters) that show clear ownership to a given organization.

For instance, when you have a domain name like example.com (filter domain:example.com), you may found some new fields belonging the subject organization from an X.509 certificate. Thus, we just pivot on this new value (filter subject.organization:”Bitnami”) to find more assets linked to the given domain. Also, when a device is hosting more than one domain name, you can pivot on these new domains and create your organization’s owned domain list.

Also, we don’t just gather raw application responses, we do perform device identification. Our goal is to directly give the classification of the device: be it a VPN server, a database, or any of the other 60 device classifications we have in room. For instance, to get access to all exposed databases simply execute the filter device.class:database. Let’s show some examples based on the TOP40 dorks from SecurityTrails.


2. Free View vs Dragonfly View vs Entreprise Views

With Free View, you won’t be able to use search filters. You can just paste some strings or IP addresses and you will get a subset of available results we have within our search engine.

With Dragonfly View, you will have access to search filters, but not to device classification or tags. Dragonfly View is a good start if you want to test some of the dorks we will describe in this blog post.

With Entreprise Views, you have access to all filters and all information categories.

That’s a short comparison of our three licensing models, you will have more details at the pricing page.


3. Databases

SecurityTrails article shows some way to find databases exposed on the Internet with or without authentication. That’s an excellent start to demonstrate our capabilities.

The first dork searches for open MongoDB instances with no authentication activated with Shodan:

"MongoDB Server Information" port:27017 -authentication

With ONYPHE and an Entreprise license, you can achieve the same objective without knowing the raw application response format, and, even better, without knowing the well-known port behind MongoDB. In fact, our solution performs protocol identification from the ground up. Of course, listening ports can be customized, but not really application responses. Here is the ONYPHE version of the previous query:

protocol:mongo tag:open

With a Dragonfly View, you will only be able to search with the protocol filter part, which is kind of a good start.

We see that we have identified 8,116 open MongoDB instances vs 8,409 from our competitor. Please also note that we have other tags in red in the screenshot, for instance the fact that the database has been compromised and a ransomware note has been deployed.

Other interesting fields are the one with “Company pivot(s)” and “Analytic pivot(s)”  sections. That’s where the magic happen: if you identify a pattern giving clear evidence the value is bound to a given organization, you can just pivot on that value and find other exposed devices for your target.

But this search is too limitative to us. The author wanted to find open databases exposed on the Internet. MongoDB is one if this kind, but there are also Elasticsearch, Kibana, Redis, Memcached, CouchDB and many others.

All of these applications are classified as databases within our solution. Just use the following filter to identify all of them:

device.class:database tag:open -monthago:1


This time, we identified nearly 48,000 open databases for last month data. Yes, because we do also have historical records for the last 7 months.

But you could also search by raw application responses if you are that kind. For instance, the following dork:

"Set-Cookie: mongo-express=" "200 OK"

Can be taken right away and pasted within our search engine:

"Set-Cookie: mongo-express=" "200 OK"

For MySQL & PostgreSQL related databases, simply search with a protocol filter:


To search for Elasticsearch databases with their list of indices:

app.http.component.product:elasticsearch -exists:summary

The summary field contains a subset of raw application responses: just the most important patterns. You can search the summary field like the data field, that is by using keywords like any full-text search engine. Example to identify private information:

device.class:database summary:private

That’s some easy ways to search databases, right?


4. Exposed ports

As we said at the start of this article, we are currently scanning for roughly 200 ports on a per month basis. Of course, you can search by port if you will. But we strongly encourage you to adopt the described by protocol approach instead. SSH is not always on port 22.

The first query shown in SecurityTrails article is to search for exposed ProFTPD products. We also identify products, whatever the port they listen to. The following search:

proftpd port:21


product:proftpd protocol:ftp

It appears the author wanted to search for anonymous accesses using the following search:

"220" "230 Login successful." port:21

Well, we do have a specific protocol filter for such kind of searches:


That’s a nice comparison: our competitor has found 93,204 anonymous FTP servers while we found 443,501.

Now you probably got the point what is the difference between our competitor and our search engine. We want to simplify analysts work by giving them directly the information they need, and to get that, they don’t have to know which strings they want to search for.

So, the following dorks:

openssh port:22
port:"25" product:"exim"
port:"11211" product:"Memcached"


product:openssh protocol:ssh
protocol:smtp product:exim

Simple as that. Don’t bother with port numbers anymore.

As for the last Jenkins dork:

"X-Jenkins" "Set-Cookie: JSESSIONID" http.title:"Dashboard"

You can perform the following search with ONYPHE:

"X-Jenkins" "Set-Cookie: JSESSIONID" app.http.title:"Dashboard"

Notice the change between http.title vs app.http.title with our solution. You could also have searched with the following filter to avoid putting your own strings in the search:

app.http.component.product:jenkins app.http.title:"Dashboard"

Which yields even more results than the first query from our solution: 1,727 vs 2,779.


We are done with this first part from a few articles related to benchmarking our solution versus our competitor Shodan. We showed how easy it is to find open databases for a given organization thanks to our domain filter.

Our goal is simply to always have a domain filter related to data we gather to make it easy to map a target Internet exposure.

In next parts, we will continue this benchmark to see where it leads us to. We are sure you will like it as much as this part 🙂 we take the time here to thank SecurityTrails as they allow us to, to our best extent possible, make an impartial comparison to our major competitor.

Interested in our solution? Just send us an email to contact_at_onyphe_dot_com if you want a demo.


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