What are the key differences between reconnaissance, active and post-attacks?

Created by Charley Downey, Modified on Thu, 23 May 2024 at 03:01 PM by Charley Downey

1. Reconnaissance is primarily about a hacker gathering information. This is often passive and involves minimal interaction with the target. 


It’s also generally considered less risky in terms of detection and legal consequences compared to other attack strategies. However, successful reconnaissance lays the groundwork for effective active attacks by providing valuable insights into the target's weaknesses and potential attack vectors.


Hackers use various methods such as passive scanning, open-source intelligence (OSINT) gathering, social engineering, and network scanning to collect information.


2. Active attacks involve attempts to identify and exploit vulnerabilities. They require direct engagement with the target’s systems or users, making them more risky and easily traceable than reconnaissance.


Active attacks attempt to breach the target's security defences and gain control over systems, steal sensitive data, disrupt operations, or cause damage.


Active attacks can involve various techniques such as malware deployment, brute force attacks, SQL injection, phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks, and exploiting software vulnerabilities.


3. Post-attacks refer to actions taken by hackers after successfully compromising a system or network. 


Hackers engage in post-attack activities to maintain access, escalate privileges, cover their tracks, exfiltrate data, and potentially launch further attacks.


Post-attack activities may include installing backdoors, creating new user accounts, modifying logs, encrypting or stealing data, establishing persistence, and preparing for future attacks.


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