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
SearchCompliance
  • ISO 31000 Risk Management

    The ISO 31000 Risk Management framework is an international standard that provides businesses with guidelines and principles for ...

  • pure risk

    Pure risk refers to risks that are beyond human control and result in a loss or no loss with no possibility of financial gain.

  • risk reporting

    Risk reporting is a method of identifying risks tied to or potentially impacting an organization's business processes.

SearchSecurity
  • Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)

    Pretty Good Privacy or PGP was a popular program used to encrypt and decrypt email over the internet, as well as authenticate ...

  • cyberterrorism

    Cyberterrorism is often defined as any premeditated, politically motivated attack against information systems, programs and data ...

  • click fraud (pay-per-click fraud)

    Click fraud -- sometimes called 'pay-per-click fraud' -- is a type of fraud that artificially inflates traffic statistics for ...

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • What is risk mitigation?

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

  • fault-tolerant

    Fault-tolerant technology is a capability of a computer system, electronic system or network to deliver uninterrupted service, ...

  • synchronous replication

    Synchronous replication is the process of copying data over a storage area network, local area network or wide area network so ...

SearchStorage
Close