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Using lsof to Find Open Files

Nov 24, 2010, 16:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier)

"One of the most useful utilities you'll find on Linux and *nix systems is lsof. Short for "list open files," the lsof utility can help identify which files are being used by any given application, which network ports are open, and much more.

"The lsof utility has all manner of useful applications. My first serious application of lsof was hunting down rootkits and IRC bots that were deployed on shared Linux servers. A process would show up in top or ps aux, but the executable didn't seem to exist. Using lsof, I could hunt down the scripts or executables used to run the malware.

"You can do a lot with lsof, but let's focus on a couple of basics for starters. If you run just lsof, it will attempt to show all files (which includes network sockets, pipes and special files) that are open."

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