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What is Reconnaissance in Cyber Security?

What is Reconnaissance in Cyber Security
What is Reconnaissance in Cyber Security

As hackers get more clever, technology takes on new forms. They can penetrate security and launch more attacks. This blog will provide information on reconnaissance and cyberattacks. It also explains how to protect yourself from cyber threats using reconnaissance.

What’s Reconnaissance?

Ethical hacking starts with gathering information and getting to know the target system. Reconnaissance combines techniques and processes, such as scanning, footprinting, and enumeration, that allow you to covertly find as much information about the target system as possible.

Reconnaissance is a crucial step in finding and stealing confidential data. An attacker would need to have detailed information to perform a good recon. It is how reconnaissance in information security is used to conduct penetration testing.

An attacker can use recon to gain information without engaging with the network. It can provide information that allows access to networks outside the Internet. Recon is short for “research” and is vulnerable to attack.

It is still being determined how long it takes for a recon to gain access to networks. It could take weeks or even months. A recon can access no information system but still cause data breaches, collecting sensitive data and exploiting networks.

To gather as much information as possible about a target system, an ethical hacker follows the seven steps:

  • Collecting initial data
  • Calculating the range of the network
  • Identifying active machines
  • Find out about the available ports and access points
  • Identification of the operating system using its fingerprint
  • Services available at ports
  • Create a network map

An attacker will use these steps to gain access to information about a network:

  • File permissions
  • Running network services
  • OS platform
  • Trust relationships
  • Information about user accounts


There are two types of reconnaissance: active reconnaissance and passive. Let’s look at the differences between passive reconnaissance and active reconnaissance.

Active Reconnaissance

Cybercriminals use active reconnaissance to gain information about computer systems. They do this using automated scanning, manual testing, ping and netcat. Active reconnaissance is more effective and faster than manual testing and manual testing because it creates more noise in the system.

Port Scanning

Active reconnaissance can be illustrated by port scanning. Port scanning refers to scanning computer ports to identify open ports. It is because all information passes through these ports.

Port scanning allows attackers to determine which services are available and where they can be attacked. Port scanning involves retrieving data from open ports and analyzing it.

Techniques and Tools

Here are some examples of active reconnaissance tools.

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Nmap is the most popular tool for active network surveillance. Nmap is a tool that allows us to find information about a system’s programs and systems. It is done by using several scan types that exploit the details of a service or system’s operation. Scanning a system or a range of IP addresses controlled by a target can reveal much about a network.


Metasploit was designed as an exploit toolkit. It contains multiple prepackaged exploits that address various vulnerabilities. Metasploit gives novice hackers a glimpse into vulnerable machines.

Metasploit can be used to do reconnaissance, even though it is intended as an exploit toolkit. The auto pawn feature of Metasploit lets hackers use whatever means they need to try to exploit a target. Hackers can use Metasploit to perform more subtle reconnaissance and more targeted analysis.

Passive Reconnaissance

Passive reconnaissance uses methods like Wireshark or Shodan to collect information that does not interact with systems. OS fingerprinting, however, is used to extract information.

Passive reconnaissance allows us to gather data without interacting with the application or framework we are trying to understand. Web searches and free reports are used to collect data. The framework does not use passive reconnaissance to identify an IP address.

Passive recon is conducted without having to interact with the target. It means that the target doesn’t receive any requests and is unaware that passive recon is being conducted. Passive information gathering is done using public resources that contain information about the target in most cases.

Open-source intelligence (OSINT) is a method of gathering information from public sources. OSINT can help you find IP addresses, domain addresses, email addresses, names and host names, DNS records and even the software running on a website.

Techniques and Tools

These are some passive attack tools.


Wireshark is most well-known for its network traffic analysis capabilities. However, it is used for passive network reconnaissance. Hackers can gain access to the Wi-Fi networks of companies or monitor employee traffic. Wireshark then analyses that traffic to gain valuable insights into the network.


Shodan is an internet-connected device search engine. As the Internet of things grows, more insecure devices are connected to the Internet.

Shodan is a tool that hackers can use to locate devices within a company’s IP address range. Hackers may be able to identify vulnerable IoT devices within a network. Many IoT devices are already vulnerable by default.

Our blog contains more information about ethical hacking software and tools.

OS Fingerprinting

OS fingerprinting is used to determine which operating system is being run remotely. OS fingerprinting is used primarily for cyber reconnaissance.


Search engines are another way to perform reconnaissance.

Search engines are the best passive reconnaissance tool. Google and other search engines can help you accomplish many incredible things. Hackers and programmers can use Google search engines to hack into Google. Combining fundamental investigation techniques with innovative hacking strategies can cause severe damage.