Active Reconnaissance

What Does Active Reconnaissance Mean?

Active reconnaissance refers to system information collection for hacking purposes or system penetration testing. In active reconnaissance, a hacker uses system information to gain unauthorized access to protected digital or electronic materials, and may go around routers or even firewalls to get it. Active reconnaissance is also used by systems analysts and programmers to test the security of networks and systems and scan for potential vulnerabilities.

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Techopedia Explains Active Reconnaissance

In order to perform active reconnaissance, an individual must have a worthy application that scans ports to reveal weak or vulnerable ones that may have been overlooked. When penetration tests are performed on systems, hacking can be used for useful purposes such as anticipating what a hacker could or would get into, thus making a system more access-secure. But while information technology experts value active reconnaissance for the amount of information it provides, it is relatively easy to perform, but for systems analysts and hackers.

Hackers enlist active reconnaissance measures to benefit from protected data. Benefits to the hacker might include financial gain if they illegally distribute and sell the otherwise secure data, or gaining the benefit of knowledge for stealing intellectual property they can use to shortcut the information gathering process. Another benefit might be to obtain classified information from, say, a government defense program for even more malicious purposes.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.