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CAPEC-300: Port Scanning

Attack Pattern ID: 300
Abstraction: Standard
Status: Stable
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
An adversary uses a combination of techniques to determine the state of the ports on a remote target. Any service or application available for TCP or UDP networking will have a port open for communications over the network. Although common services have assigned port numbers, services and applications can run on arbitrary ports. Additionally, port scanning is complicated by the potential for any machine to have up to 65535 possible UDP or TCP services. The goal of port scanning is often broader than identifying open ports, but also give the adversary information concerning the firewall configuration. Depending upon the method of scanning that is used, the process can be stealthy or more obtrusive, the latter being more easily detectable due to the volume of packets involved, anomalous packet traits, or system logging. Typical port scanning activity involves sending probes to a range of ports and observing the responses. There are four types of port status that this type of attack aims to identify: 1) Open Port: The port is open and a firewall does not block access to the port, 2) Closed Port: The port is closed (i.e. no service resides there) and a firewall does not block access to the port, 3) Filtered Port: A firewall or ACL rule is blocking access to the port in some manner, although the presence of a listening service on the port cannot be verified, and 4) Unfiltered Port: A firewall or ACL rule is not blocking access to the port, although the presence of a listening service on the port cannot be verified. For strategic purposes it is useful for an adversary to distinguish between an open port that is protected by a filter vs. a closed port that is not protected by a filter. Making these fine grained distinctions is impossible with certain scan types. A TCP connect scan, for instance, cannot distinguish a blocked port with an active service from a closed port that is not firewalled. Other scan types can only detect closed ports, while others cannot detect port state at all, only the presence or absence of filters. Collecting this type of information tells the adversary which ports can be attacked directly, which must be attacked with filter evasion techniques like fragmentation, source port scans, and which ports are unprotected (i.e. not firewalled) but aren't hosting a network service. An adversary often combines various techniques in order to gain a more complete picture of the firewall filtering mechanisms in place for a host.
+ Typical Severity

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
ChildOfMeta Attack PatternMeta Attack Pattern - A meta level attack pattern in CAPEC is a decidedly abstract characterization of a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. A meta attack pattern is often void of a specific technology or implementation and is meant to provide an understanding of a high level approach. A meta level attack pattern is a generalization of related group of standard level attack patterns. Meta level attack patterns are particularly useful for architecture and design level threat modeling exercises.169Footprinting
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.287TCP SYN Scan
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.301TCP Connect Scan
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.302TCP FIN Scan
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.303TCP Xmas Scan
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.304TCP Null Scan
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.305TCP ACK Scan
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.306TCP Window Scan
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.307TCP RPC Scan
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.308UDP Scan
+ Prerequisites
The adversary requires logical access to the target's network in order to carry out this type of attack.
+ Resources Required
The adversary requires a network mapping/scanning tool, or must conduct socket programming on the command line. Packet injection tools are also useful for this purpose. Depending upon the method used it may be necessary to sniff the network in order to see the response.
+ 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
Other
Confidentiality
Access Control
Authorization
Bypass Protection Mechanism
Hide Activities
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Relevant to the ATT&CK taxonomy mapping
Entry IDEntry Name
1146Network Service Scanning
+ References
[REF-33] Stuart McClure, Joel Scambray and George Kurtz. "Hacking Exposed: Network Security Secrets & Solutions". Chapter 2: Scanning, pg. 54. 6th Edition. McGraw Hill. 2009.
[REF-128] Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Information Processing Techniques Office and Information Sciences Institute University of Southern California. "RFC793 - Transmission Control Protocol". Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). 1981-09. <http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc793.html>.
[REF-158] J. Postel. "RFC768 - User Datagram Protocol". 1980-08-28. <http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc768.html>.
[REF-34] Gordon "Fyodor" Lyon. "Nmap Network Scanning: The Official Nmap Project Guide to Network Discovery and Security Scanning". Section 4.1 Introduction to Port Scanning, pg. 73. 3rd "Zero Day" Edition,. Insecure.com LLC, ISBN: 978-0-9799587-1-7. 2008.
[REF-130] Gordon "Fyodor" Lyon. "The Art of Port Scanning". Volume: 7, Issue. 51. Phrack Magazine. 1997. <http://phrack.org/issues/51/11.html>.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2014-06-23CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2018-07-31CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Attack_Prerequisites, Description, Description Summary, References, Related_Weaknesses, Resources_Required

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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2018