Network Footprinting: Finding Your Target

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Article by Willem Mouton

As a security analyst, footprinting is also one of the most enjoyable parts of my job as I attempt to outperform the automatons; it is all about finding that one target that everybody forgot about or did not even know they had, that one old IIS 5 webserver that is not used, but not powered off.

With this article I am going to share some of the steps, tips and tricks that pentesters and hackers alike use when starting on a engagement.

As with most things in life having a good approach to a problem will yield better results and overtime as your approach is refined you will consume less time while getting better results. By following a methodology, your footprinting will become more repeatable and thus reliable.

A basic footprining methodology covers reconnaissance, DNS mining, various information services (e.g. whois, Robtex, routes), network registration information and active steps such as SSL host enumeration. While the temptation exists to merely feed a domain name into a tool or script and take the output as your completed footprint, this will not yield a passable footprint for two reasons.

Firstly, a single tool will not have access to all the disparate information sources that one should consult, and secondly the footprinting process is inherently iterative and continuous.

A footprint is almost never complete; instead, a fork of the footprint data provides the best current view of the target, but the information could change tomorrow as new sites are brought online, or old sites are taken offline.

Thus as a datum is found that could expand the footprint, a new iteration of the footprinting process triggers with that datum as the seed, and the results are combined with all discovered information...

Download the full Network Footprinting white paper here:

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Network->General
Information Security
Methodologies Hacking Scanners Penetration Testing Reconnaissance Network Security Targeted Attacks Pentesting Footprinting
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