Reconnaissance Stage of Attack


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Dear Hakin9 Readers,

Welcome to the new Hakin9 ebook, titled "Reconnaissance Stage of Attack". This edition is dedicated to exploring the critical initial phase in the cyber kill chain: reconnaissance. As the gateway through which all subsequent attacks are launched, understanding and mitigating threats at this stage is essential for robust cybersecurity defenses.

This issue comprises articles that shed light on the varied aspects of reconnaissance—from the strategic use of tools like DNS Dumpster by groups such as Killnet, to the roles that human resources play in both perpetrating and defending against espionage. We will guide you through the nuances of modern reconnaissance methods, uncover the shadowy practices of dark web surveillance, and provide expert insights into identifying attackers early in their campaigns.

Our expert contributors, including leaders in digital security and seasoned analysts, offer deep dives into how threat intelligence can be effectively employed to anticipate and neutralize threats before they evolve into full-scale attacks. Additionally, the issue includes a special feature with Gilbert Oviedo, who answers pressing questions about reconnaissance tactics and defenses.

Each article in this issue is designed not only to inform but also to equip you with the knowledge and strategies needed to enhance your defensive measures against the sophisticated techniques employed by today’s cyber adversaries.

Join us as we explore these pivotal themes, providing you with the insights necessary to understand the complexities of reconnaissance and fortify your defenses against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. Whether you are a cybersecurity veteran or new to the field, this issue is an essential resource for staying ahead in the dynamic world of digital security.

Without further ado,

Let’s launch and dive in the reading process.

Hakin9 Editorial Team



Unveiling Cyber Threats: Understanding Reconnaissance in the Cyber Kill Chain and the importance of Threat Intelligence

Giannis Kostakis - CEO, Jonida Mema - Security Analyst

Many enterprises have significantly improved their cybersecurity posture the past decades, effectively preventing known attacks through the integration of security tools, employee education initiatives, and adherence to regulatory standards. However, with the rise of sophisticated cyber threats and the evolving AI threat landscape, many organisations are still susceptible to successful security incidents and data breaches.

Revealing Killnet: The power of Reconnaissance with DNS Dumpster

Matthew Maynard

In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats, hacktivism stands out as a formidable force, challenging the norms of digital activism and cyber warfare. Hacktivism is when a political or social activist group uses computer technology to make a statement supporting one of their causes. As an example, hacking could mean compromising someone’s computer or business and activism is promoting a social perspective. “Hacktivism” is the combination of the two words. Among the prominent players in the hacktivist realm is Killnet, known for their notorious attacks on various targets around the world. Central to Killnet's operations is reconnaissance, a strategic process that lays the groundwork for successful cyber campaigns. In this talk, we will delve into the world of Killnet, exploring the pivotal role of reconnaissance and the potent capabilities of the DNSdumpster tool in their operations.

Methods for Analyzing the Human Resource Aspect of Cybersecurity and Espionage

Gilbert Oviedo

In the cybersecurity landscape, the concept of "watchers" encompasses a range of roles and intentions, each with its own impact on security and intelligence operations. From passive observers to active infiltrators and behind-the-scenes manipulators, these watchers play crucial roles in monitoring, influencing, and shaping the digital realm. In this discussion, we'll explore the distinct personas of observers, infiltrators, and manipulators, shedding light on their roles and impacts within the realm of cybersecurity and espionage. Presented from the viewpoint of an observer—a neutral executor who learns from the comings and goings—we'll delve into the complexities of surveillance, subterfuge, and strategic maneuvering in the modern digital age.


Priyanka Tomar

No wonder that cyber threats pose a significant risk to all of us be it individuals, organizations and nations. Cyber-attacks are becoming sophisticated day by day therefore understanding the attack methodologies used by cyber threat actors is crucial for defensive purposes. Here Cyber Kill Chain framework comes into play, it was developed by Lockheed Martin. The Cyber Kill Chain framework provides a well-structured approach to understand the various stages of a cyber-attack, from reconnaissance to data exfiltration. In this article, we discuss the first phase of the Cyber Kill Chain i.e.  reconnaissance.


Mariana do Carmo Gouveia

Modern cyberwarfare requires a deep understanding of attacker tactics and an agile response to protect organizations against evolving threats. In this way, the Cyber ​​Kill Chain offers a powerful framework for understanding and combating these threats, dividing the cycle of an attack into distinct stages.

At the heart of this chain is the reconnaissance phase, where attackers thoroughly search for information about their targets. This stage, although initial, is critical as it provides attackers with essential insights into the infrastructure and vulnerabilities of the system in question.

Stage One – Reconnaissance

Ross Moore 

The Cyber Kill Chain framework was developed by Lockheed Martin to describe the typical stages of a cyber attack. It outlines the steps an attacker takes to compromise a target, from initial reconnaissance to final data exfiltration or system disruption.

Unveiling Digital Shadows: Understanding Modern Reconnaissance Techniques

Gilbert Oviedo

In today's digital age, our online activities leave behind a trail of data that various entities meticulously collect and analyze. From browsing history to purchasing habits, our digital footprints paint a detailed picture of who we are and what we do online. In this article, we delve into the world of reconnaissance, exploring how subtle techniques are used to gather valuable information about individuals and organizations. This comprehensive guide will offer readers valuable insights into digital reconnaissance and teach practical techniques for uncovering hidden threats and defending against digital surveillance.

Dark Web Reconnaissance: The Art of Uncovering the Hidden Adversaries

Peter Chari 

The cyber kill chain is the intelligence-driven defense framework developed by Lockheed Martin. It is a seven-stage model that helps security engineers identify advanced persistent threats(APTs) and mitigate the impact of cyber attacks on organizations. The seven stages are Reconnaissance, Weaponisation, Delivery, Exploitation, Installation, Command and Control, and Actions on Objectives. This publication focuses on how threat actors leverage the dark web to compromise victims during the Reconnaissance phase.


Strategies for Defending Against Kill Chain Reconnaissance

Pranshu Ranakoti

Recent cyberattacks attributed to advanced persistent threat (APT) groups linked with nation-states have exposed their expanding capabilities when it comes to effectively compromising government and enterprise networks. Whether the end goal is cyber espionage for intellectual property theft, disruption of critical infrastructure for military objectives or global influence operations, these sophisticated adversaries play the long game. 


Security Implications of Serverless Computing in the Cloud

Mashael Alquraishi, Danyah Alharthi, Johara Aljarri

The promise of easier development, scalability, and cost-effectiveness has made serverless computing quite popular in recent years. But this fundamental change in the architecture of cloud computing brings with it new security issues. The security implications of serverless computing are examined in this paper, along with potential threats, weaknesses, and solutions to improve the overall security posture in a serverless context. 

Reconnaissance - Questions and Answers with Gilbert Oviedo

Gilbert Oviedo and Hakin9



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