Home > CAPEC List > CAPEC-169: Footprinting (Version 3.0)  

CAPEC-169: Footprinting

Attack Pattern ID: 169
Abstraction: Meta
Status: Stable
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
An adversary engages in probing and exploration activities to identify constituents and properties of the target. Footprinting is a general term to describe a variety of information gathering techniques, often used by attackers in preparation for some attack. It consists of using tools to learn as much as possible about the composition, configuration, and security mechanisms of the targeted application, system or network. Information that might be collected during a footprinting effort could include open ports, applications and their versions, network topology, and similar information. While footprinting is not intended to be damaging (although certain activities, such as network scans, can sometimes cause disruptions to vulnerable applications inadvertently) it may often pave the way for more damaging attacks.
+ Likelihood Of Attack

High

+ Typical Severity

Very Low

+ Relationships

The table(s) below shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as CanFollow, PeerOf, and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar attack patterns that the user may want to explore.

+ Relevant to the view "Mechanisms of Attack" (CAPEC-1000)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - A category in CAPEC is a collection of attack patterns based on some common characteristic. More specifically, it is an aggregation of attack patterns based on effect/intent (as opposed to actions or mechanisms, such an aggregation would be a meta attack pattern). An aggregation based on effect/intent is not an actionable attack and as such is not a pattern of attack behavior. Rather, it is a grouping of patterns based on some common criteria.118Collect and Analyze Information
ParentOfDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.149Explore for Predictable Temporary File Names
ParentOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.292Host Discovery
ParentOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.300Port Scanning
ParentOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.309Network Topology Mapping
ParentOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.529Malware-Directed Internal Reconnaissance
ParentOfDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.573Process Footprinting
ParentOfDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.574Services Footprinting
ParentOfDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.575Account Footprinting
ParentOfDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.576Group Permission Footprinting
ParentOfDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.577Owner Footprinting
ParentOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.580Application Footprinting
ParentOfDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.646Peripheral Footprinting
+ Relevant to the view "Domains of Attack" (CAPEC-3000)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - A category in CAPEC is a collection of attack patterns based on some common characteristic. More specifically, it is an aggregation of attack patterns based on effect/intent (as opposed to actions or mechanisms, such an aggregation would be a meta attack pattern). An aggregation based on effect/intent is not an actionable attack and as such is not a pattern of attack behavior. Rather, it is a grouping of patterns based on some common criteria.513Software
MemberOfCategoryCategory - A category in CAPEC is a collection of attack patterns based on some common characteristic. More specifically, it is an aggregation of attack patterns based on effect/intent (as opposed to actions or mechanisms, such an aggregation would be a meta attack pattern). An aggregation based on effect/intent is not an actionable attack and as such is not a pattern of attack behavior. Rather, it is a grouping of patterns based on some common criteria.515Hardware
+ Execution Flow
Explore
  1. Request Footprinting: The attacker examines the website information and source code of the website and uses automated tools to get as much information as possible about the system and organization. Open Source Footprinting: Examine the website about the organization and skim through the webpage's HTML source to look for comments. Network Enumeration: Perform various queries (Registrar Query, Organizational Query, Domain Query, Network Query, POC Query) on the many whois databases found on the internet to identify domain names and associated networks. DNS Interrogation: Once basic information is gathered the attack could begin to query DNS. Other Techniques: Use ping sweep, TCP scan, UDP scan, OS Identification various techniques to gain more information about the system and network.

    Techniques
    Open Source Footprinting: Examine the website about the organization and skim through the webpage's HTML source to look for comments.
    Network Enumeration: Perform various queries (Registrar Query, Organizational Query, Domain Query, Network Query, POC Query) on the many whois databases found on the internet to identify domain names and associated networks.
    DNS Interrogation: Once basic information is gathered the attack could begin to query DNS.
    Other Techniques: Use ping sweep, TCP scan, UDP scan, OS Identification various techniques to gain more information about the system and network.
+ Prerequisites
An application must publicize identifiable information about the system or application through voluntary or involuntary means. Certain identification details of information systems are visible on communication networks (e.g., if an adversary uses a sniffer to inspect the traffic) due to their inherent structure and protocol standards. Any system or network that can be detected can be footprinted. However, some configuration choices may limit the useful information that can be collected during a footprinting attack.
+ Skills Required
[Level: Low]
The adversary knows how to send HTTP request, run the scan tool.
+ Resources Required
The adversary requires a variety of tools to collect information about the target. These include port/network scanners and tools to analyze responses from applications to determine version and configuration information. Footprinting a system adequately may also take a few days if the attacker wishes the footprinting attempt to go undetected.
+ Consequences

The table below specifies different individual consequences associated with the attack pattern. The Scope identifies the security property that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in their attack. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a pattern will be used to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Confidentiality
Read Data
+ Mitigations
Keep patches up to date by installing weekly or daily if possible.
Shut down unnecessary services/ports.
Change default passwords by choosing strong passwords.
Curtail unexpected input.
Encrypt and password-protect sensitive data.
Avoid including information that has the potential to identify and compromise your organization's security such as access to business plans, formulas, and proprietary documents.
+ Example Instances
In this example let us look at the website http://www.example.com to get much information we can about Alice. From the website, we find that Alice also runs foobar.org. We type in www example.com into the prompt of the Name Lookup window in a tool, and our result is this IP address: 192.173.28.130 We type the domain into the Name Lookup prompt and we are given the same IP. We can safely say that example and foobar.org are hosted on the same box. But if we were to do a reverse name lookup on the IP, which domain will come up? www.example.com or foobar.org? Neither, the result is nijasvspirates.org. So nijasvspirates.org is the name of the box hosting 31337squirrel.org and foobar.org. So now that we have the IP, let's check to see if nijasvspirates is awake. We type the IP into the prompt in the Ping window. We'll set the interval between packets to 1 millisecond. We'll set the number of seconds to wait until a ping times out to 5. We'll set the ping size to 500 bytes and we'll send ten pings. Ten packets sent and ten packets received. nijasvspirates.org returned a message to my computer within an average of 0.35 seconds for every packet sent. nijasvspirates is alive. We open the Whois window and type nijasvspirates.org into the Query prompt, and whois.networksolutions.com into the Server prompt. This means we'll be asking Network Solutions to tell us everything they know about nijasvspirates.org. The result is this laundry list of info: Registrant: FooBar (nijasvspirates -DOM) p.o.box 11111 SLC, UT 84151 US Domain Name: nijasvspirates.ORG Administrative Contact, Billing Contact: Smith, John jsmith@anonymous.net FooBar p.o.box 11111 SLC, UT 84151 555-555-6103 Technical Contact: Johnson, Ken kj@fierymonkey.org fierymonkey p.o.box 11111 SLC, UT 84151 555-555-3849 Record last updated on 17-Aug-2001. Record expires on 11-Aug-2002. Record created on 11-Aug-2000. Database last updated on 12-Dec-2001 04:06:00 EST. Domain servers in listed order: NS1. fierymonkey.ORG 192.173.28.130 NS2. fierymonkey.ORG 64.192.168.80 A corner stone of footprinting is Port Scanning. Let's port scan nijasvspirates.org and see what kind of services are running on that box. We type in the nijasvspirates IP into the Host prompt of the Port Scan window. We'll start searching from port number 1, and we'll stop at the default Sub7 port, 27374. Our results are: 21 TCP ftp 22 TCP ssh SSH-1.99-OpenSSH_2.30 25 TCP smtp 53 TCP domain 80 TCP www 110 TCP pop3 111 TCP sunrpc 113 TCP ident Just by this we know that Alice is running a website and email, using POP3, SUNRPC (SUN Remote Procedure Call), and ident.
+ References
[REF-31] Manic Velocity. "Footprinting And The Basics Of Hacking". Web Textfiles. <http://web.textfiles.com/hacking/footprinting.txt>.
[REF-32] Eddie Sutton. "Footprint: What Is And How Do You Erase Them". <http://www.infosecwriters.com/text_resources/pdf/Footprinting.pdf>.
[REF-33] Stuart McClure, Joel Scambray and George Kurtz. "Hacking Exposed: Network Security Secrets & Solutions". Chapter 2: Scanning, pp. 38-39. 6th Edition. McGraw Hill. 2009.
[REF-34] Gordon "Fyodor" Lyon. "Nmap Network Scanning: The Official Nmap Project Guide to Network Discovery and Security Scanning". Section 3.1 Introduction, pg. 47. 3rd "Zero Day" Edition,. Insecure.com LLC, ISBN: 978-0-9799587-1-7. 2008.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2014-06-23CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2017-05-01CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Attack_Motivation-Consequences, Attack_Prerequisites, Attacker_Skills_or_Knowledge_Required, Description Summary, Related_Weaknesses, Resources_Required, Solutions_and_Mitigations, Typical_Likelihood_of_Exploit

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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2018