Browse Definitions :
Definition

passive reconnaissance

Passive reconnaissance is an attempt to gain information about targeted computers and networks without actively engaging with the systems. In active reconnaissance, in contrast, the attacker engages with the target system, typically conducting a port scan to determine find any open ports.

The term reconnaissance comes from its military use to describe an information-gathering mission. Both types of reconnaissance are sometimes referred to as passive attacks because the purpose is simply to obtain information, rather than to actively exploit the target. However, reconnaissance is often a preliminary step towards an active attempt to exploit the target system.

Methods of passive reconnaissance include:

  • War driving to detect vulnerable wireless networks.
  • Looking for information stored on discarded computers and other devices.
  • Masquerading as an authorized network user.

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 protect yourself from 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, while the IPS will detect port scans in progress and shut them down before they are able to gain a full map of your network.

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

 

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

  • compliance audit

    A compliance audit is a comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines.

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

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

SearchSecurity

  • data breach

    A data breach is a confirmed incident in which sensitive, confidential or otherwise protected data has been accessed and/or ...

  • zero-day (computer)

    A zero-day vulnerability, also known as a computer zero day, is a flaw in software, hardware or firmware that is unknown to the ...

  • Cybercrime

    Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network.

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

  • business continuity software

    Business continuity software is an application or suite designed to make business continuity planning/business continuity ...

  • business continuity policy

    Business continuity policy is the set of standards and guidelines an organization enforces to ensure resilience and proper risk ...

SearchStorage

  • business impact analysis (BIA)

    Business impact analysis (BIA) is a systematic process to determine and evaluate the potential effects of an interruption to ...

  • RAID (redundant array of independent disks)

    RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a way of storing the same data in different places on multiple hard disks to ...

  • dedicated cloud

    A dedicated cloud is a single-tenant cloud infrastructure, which essentially acts as an isolated, single-tenant public cloud.

Close