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How to test for open report port without telnet

The telnet client is no longer being installed by default on secure systems. So, how do you check that you can get to a remote port, like a mail relay? There's been a trick in bash for a while, that I didn't know about. Here's how to get an idea:

2014-04-05 07:35:56 ec2-user@ip-172-31-9-61:~
0$ cat < /dev/tcp/smtp.gmail.com/25
220 mx.google.com ESMTP st4sm62108693pab.34 - gsmtp
^C

This is great! I need to play more with it, but it works for a start.

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