Browse Definitions :
Definition

active reconnaissance

Active reconnaissance is a type of computer attack in which an intruder engages with the targeted system to gather information about vulnerabilities. 

The word reconnaissance is borrowed from its military use, where it refers to a mission into enemy territory to obtain information. In a computer security context, reconnaissance is usually a preliminary step toward a further attack seeking to exploit the target system. The attacker often uses port scanning, for example, to discover any vulnerable ports.  After a port scan, an attacker usually exploits known vulnerabilities of services associated with  open ports that were detected.

Somewhat confusingly, active and passive reconnaissance are both sometimes referred to as passive attacks because they are just seeking information rather than actively exploiting the targets, as active attacks do.

Both active and passive reconnaissance are also used for ethical hacking, in which white hat hackers use attack methods to determine system vulnerabilities so that problems can be taken care of before the system falls prey to a real attack.

The simplest way to prevent most port scan attacks or reconnaissance attacks is to use a good firewall and intrusion prevention system (IPS). The firewall controls which ports are exposed and to whom they are visible. The IPS can detect port scans in progress and shut them down before the attacker can gain a full map of your network.

See also: cracker, hacker, well-known port number, vulnerability analysis (vulnerability assessment)

 

Continue reading about active reconnaissance:

> Reconnaissance attacks are covered in this introduction to network security.

> eTorials also covers reconnaissance attacks.

This was last updated in April 2012

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

SearchSecurity

  • certificate authority (CA)

    A certificate authority (CA) is a trusted entity that issues digital certificates, which are data files used to cryptographically...

  • hacktivism

    Hacktivism is the act of hacking, or breaking into a computer system, for a politically or socially motivated purpose.

  • advanced persistent threat (APT)

    An advanced persistent threat (APT) is a prolonged and targeted cyberattack in which an intruder gains access to a network and ...

SearchHealthIT

  • Cerner Corp.

    Cerner Corp. is a public company in North Kansas City, Mo., that provides various health information technologies, ranging from ...

  • clinical decision support system (CDSS)

    A clinical decision support system (CDSS) is an application that analyzes data to help healthcare providers make decisions and ...

  • Health IT (health information technology)

    Health IT (health information technology) is the area of IT involving the design, development, creation, use and maintenance of ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • tabletop exercise (TTX)

    A tabletop exercise (TTX) is a disaster preparedness activity that takes participants through the process of dealing with a ...

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a data center.

  • ransomware recovery

    Ransomware recovery is the process of resuming options following a cyberattack that demands payment in exchange for unlocking ...

SearchStorage

  • SSD (solid-state drive)

    An SSD (solid-state drive) is a type of nonvolatile storage media that stores persistent data on solid-state flash memory.

  • file system

    In a computer, a file system -- sometimes written filesystem -- is the way in which files are named and where they are placed ...

  • storage virtualization

    Storage virtualization is the pooling of physical storage from multiple storage devices into what appears to be a single storage ...

Close