CAPEC Details
Name Footprinting
Likelyhood of attack Typical severity
High Very Low
Summary 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. Although similar to fingerprinting, footprinting aims to get a more holistic view of a system or network, whereas fingerprinting is more targeted to a specific application or operating system. 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.
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.
Execution Flow
Step Phase Description Techniques
1 Explore [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.
Solutions 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.
Related Weaknesses
CWE ID Description
CWE-200 Exposure of Sensitive Information to an Unauthorized Actor
Taxonomy: ATTACK
Entry ID Entry Name
1217 Browser Bookmark Discovery
1595 Active Scanning