What is Footprinting? | Learn Cyber Security

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What is Footprinting?

Defining Foot printing


      Foot printing is the blueprinting of the security profile of an organization, undertaken in a methodological manner.

      Foot printing is one of the three pre-attack phases. The others are scanning and enumeration.

      Foot printing results in a unique organization profile with respect to networks (Internet / Intranet / Extra net / Wireless) and systems involved.

      There is no single methodology for foot printing, as a hacker can choose several routes to trace the information. Foot printing therefore, needs to be carried out precisely and in an organized manner. The information unveiled at various network levels can include details of domain name, network blocks, network services and applications, system architecture, intrusion detection systems, specific IP addresses, access control mechanisms and related lists, phone numbers, contact addresses, authentication mechanisms and system enumeration.

      The information gathering activity can be broadly divided into seven phases:

          o The attacker would first unearth initial information (such as domain name),

          o locate the network range of the target system (using tools such as Nslookup, whois etc),

          o  ascertain the active machines (for instance by pinging the machine),

          o discover open ports or access points (using tools such as port scanners),

          o detect operating systems (for instance querying with telnet),

          o uncover services on ports and

          o ultimately map the network.

      This not only speeds up the real attack process, but also aids in helping the attacker prepare better for covering his tracks and thereby leave a smaller or minimal footprint.

      Initial Information:

      Commonly includes:

            Domain name lookup


            Contacts (Telephone / mail)

      Information Sources:

            Open source

            Who is


      Hacking Tool:

            Sam Spade

            Open Source Foot printing is the easiest and safest way to go about finding information about a company. Information that is available to the public, such as phone numbers, addresses, etc. Performing whois requests, searching through DNS tables are other forms of open source foot printing. Most of this information is fairly easy to get, and within legal limits. One easy way to check for sensitive information is to check the HTML source code of the website to look for links, comments, Meta tags etc

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