Researchers at the University of Michigan recently released a new scanning and probing utility called ZMap capable of scanning hosts over 1300 times faster than the common open source tool NMap.
In testing it was able to scan the entire IPv4 address space of the Internet from one host in less than 45 minutes.
This new tool will allow security researchers to more quickly assess the possible impact of emerging threats. It also improves the time it takes to conduct statistical surveys, which have previously taken days or even months to perform.
For example, ZMap developers collected data showing that use of HTTPS increased 10% between June of 2012 and May of 2013. For more information see the project page here.