An adversary uses full TCP connection attempts to determine if a port is open on the target system. The scanning process involves completing a 'three-way handshake' with a remote port, and reports the port as closed if the full handshake cannot be established. An advantage of TCP connect scanning is that it works against any TCP/IP stack. RFC 793 defines how TCP connections are established and torn down. TCP connect scanning commonly involves establishing a full connection, and then subsequently tearing it down, and therefore involves sending a significant number of packets to each port that is scanned. Compared to other types of scans, a TCP Connect scan is slow and methodical. This type of scanning causes considerable noise in system logs and can be spotted by IDS/IPS systems. TCP Connect scanning can detect when a port is open by completing the three-way handshake, but it cannot distinguish a port that is unfiltered with no service running on it from a port that is filtered by a firewall but contains an active service. Due to the significant volume of packets exchanged per port, TCP connect scanning can become very time consuming (performing a full TCP connect scan against a host can take multiple days). Generally, it is not used as a method for performing a comprehensive port scan, but is reserved for checking a short list of common ports.
This table shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf and ParentOf, 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.
Standard 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.
An adversary attempts to initialize a TCP connection with with the target port.
An adversary uses the result of their TCP connection to determine the state of the target port. A successful connection indicates a port is open with a service listening on it while a failed connection indicates the port is not open.
The adversary requires logical access to the target network. The TCP connect Scan requires the ability to connect to an available port and complete a 'three-way-handshake' This scanning technique does not require any special privileges in order to perform. This type of scan works against all TCP/IP stack implementations.
The adversary can leverage a network mapper or scanner, or perform this attack via routine socket programming in a scripting language. Packet injection tools are also useful for this purpose. Depending upon the method used it may be necessary to sniff the network to see the response.
This table 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.
Employ a robust network defense posture that includes an IDS/IPS system.
A Related Weakness relationship associates a weakness with this attack pattern. Each association implies a weakness that must exist for a given attack to be successful. If multiple weaknesses are associated with the attack pattern, then any of the weaknesses (but not necessarily all) may be present for the attack to be successful. Each related weakness is identified by a CWE identifier.
Exposure of Sensitive Information to an Unauthorized Actor
[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.
[REF-34] Gordon "Fyodor" Lyon. "Nmap Network Scanning: The Official Nmap Project Guide to Network Discovery and Security Scanning". Section 5.3 TCP Connect Scanning, pg. 100. 3rd "Zero Day" Edition,. Insecure.com LLC, ISBN: 978-0-9799587-1-7. 2008.