IMPROVEMENTS: Detecting New Network Devices with Python and Tkinter

So I wasn’t too happy with the kludginess of the network monitoring tool that I posted about earlier this week. It lagged and really wasn’t an ideal tool. I decided to redesign the entire model.

New Model

The new tool still utilizes Python 2.7 and consists of three parts:

  • Ping/Enumeration Script
  • RESTful Django Script
  • Tkinter Reporting GUI Script

Here is how they connect. The Ping/Enumeration Script, pings all devices given within a network range. Whenever it finds a new device, it runs a NMAP scan on the device then formulates a request to the server to notify it of the device scan results. The script will also notify the server when a device disconnects from the network (this was an issue with the old version).

The Django server manages a sqlite database containing scan results on all devices currently connected to the network. It will remove or add a device record based on the ping script’s RESTful HTTP request. The server can also return a list of all devices detected. This list is used by the GUI script.

The GUI script maintains a Tkinter dialog window that will circulate through all network connected device scan results. It first sends a GET request to the Django server asking for a JSON list of all connected devices. The script will then display each record found in the JSON. Each device record will appear in the GUI window for 20 seconds. After it has made the rounds through each item, it will make another call to the server for a fresh JSON to iterate through.

The Ping/Enumeration Script is basically the same as what I discussed earlier. The difference is, after data is collected, it is sent to the Django server in a POST request.

import commands, re, json, urllib2, binascii
PREFIX = "192.168.1" #Network prefix
MIN = "0" #Starting network address, eg
MAX = "12" #Closing network address, e.g.
results = []

def escapeMe(message): #Escape characters (using ASCII value) not allowed in JSON
    new = ""
    for num in range(len(message)):
        char_code = ord(message[num])
        if char_code < 32 or char_code == 39 or             char_code == 34 or char_code == 92:
            new = new + "%" + binascii.hexlify(message[num])
            new = new + message[num]
    return new

def sendDevice(gotcha): #Send the device report to the server as a POST
        url = "" #Server address
        gotcha = escapeMe(gotcha)
        values = json.dumps({'device' : str(gotcha)})
        req = urllib2.Request(url)
        req.add_header('Content-Type', 'application/json')
        rsp = urllib2.urlopen(req, values)
        code = rsp.getcode()
    except Exception, e:
        print e

def removeDevice(ip): #Send request to remove device
        ip = ip.replace('.','-')
        url = ""+ip+"/"
        rsp = urllib2.urlopen(url)
        code = rsp.getcode()
    except Exception, e:
        print e

def main():
    global results
    while 1:
        new = commands.getoutput('for i in {'+MIN+'..'+MAX+'}; do ping -c 1 -t 1 '+PREFIX+'.$i | grep "from"; done') #Ping sweep the network to find connected devices
        tmp = re.findall(PREFIX+"\.(\d+)", str(new)) #Pull out IP addresses from the ping results
        if tmp != results:
            for ip in tmp:
                if ip not in results:
                    gotcha = commands.getoutput('nmap -v -A -Pn '+PREFIX+'.'+ip) #nmap new devices found on the network
                    sendDevice(gotcha) #send device record to server
            for r in results:
                if r not in tmp:
                    removeDevice(PREFIX+'.'+r) #remove device if it wasn't found in the latest ping
            results = tmp

if __name__ == "__main__":

Django is an awesome Python Web Application Framework that I absolutely adore (not the movie 🙂 ). It is known as the web framework for perfectionists with deadlines. Most of my web projects utilize Django.


It comes with its own lightweight server to host its applications, so its perfect for any development environment. For the sake of this project, I’m using its server, all script/server functionality is limited to the host machine running the tool. Everything is internal. Django also handles the RESTful routing and database modeling. It uses the model view controller (MVC) structure. Here is a great tutorial on how to create your own Django app, definitely worth looking into!

The following is the break down of code I wrote for the Django server (running version 1.3).
from django.db import models

class Devices(models.Model):
    device = models.TextField()

####################ADD to
url(r'^new/$', '', name='new'),
url(r'^listDevices/$', 'lilDevil.views.listDevices', name='listDevices'),
url(r'^remove/(?P*ip*.+)/$', 'lilDevil.views.remove', name='remove'), #REPLACE * with greater/less sign containing brackets
from django.http import HttpResponse
from lilDevil.models import Devices
import json

def remove(request, ip):
        ip = ip.replace('-','.')
        devicelist = Devices.objects.all()
        for d in devicelist:
            if ip in d.device:
        return HttpResponse(status = 200)
    except Exception, e:
        return HttpResponse(e)

def new(request):
        encoded = json.loads(request.raw_post_data)
        new = Devices(device=encoded["device"])
        return HttpResponse(status = 200)
    except Exception, e:
        return HttpResponse(e)

def listDevices(request):
        json_string = '{"devices": ['
        devicelist = Devices.objects.all()
        first = True
        for d in devicelist:
            if first:
                first = False
                json_string = json_string + ', '
            json_string = json_string + '{"device": "'+str(d.device)+'"}'

        json_string = json_string + ']}'
        return HttpResponse(json_string)
    except Exception, e:
        print HttpResponse(e)

Finally, the GUI script. Very similar to the one in the old post. Again, I just added the ability to request device data from the server.

from Tkinter import *
import time, urllib2, urllib, json
class flipGUI(Tk):
    def __init__(self,*args, **kwargs): #Setup the GUI and make it pretty
        Tk.__init__(self, *args, **kwargs)
        self.label1 = Label(self, width= 65, justify=CENTER, padx=5, pady=5, text="Guests") #Text label
        self.label2 = Label(self, text="") #Photo label
        self.label2.grid(row=0, column=1, sticky=W+E+N+S, padx=5, pady=5)
        self.label1.grid(row=0, column=0)

    def flipping(self): #Flip through NMAP scans of detected devices
        t = self.label1.cget("text")
        t = self.label2.cget("image")
        data = getData()
        found = json.loads(data)
        photo = PhotoImage(file="picture.gif")
        if found['devices']:
            for f in found['devices']: #Loop through all but the last item
                fixed = f['device'].replace('%0a', '\n') #return to ASCII value from earlier escaped hex
            self.label1.config(text="No connected devices")
        self.after(1, self.flipping())

def getData(): #Get a list of devices from server
    url = "" #server address
    response = urllib2.urlopen(url)
    code = response.getcode()
    if int(code) == 200:

if __name__ == "__main__":
        while 1:
            app = flipGUI()
    except Exception, e:
        print e

Final Note: Make sure to delete/clear out database or old results will carry over! I did this in an init.d script that calls the service.

Put it all together and you have a much more stable tool. I renamed it from the Hindenburg to the Lil Devil.

The Lil Devil
The Lil Devil