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What Is Enumeration in Ethical Hacking?

In this article we will understand the key concepts of Enumeration from an ethical hacking point of view. We will learn about the fundamentals of penetration testing, and how enumeration forms a part of it. We will also explore the other concepts - types of Enumeration, Techniques to perform enumeration and tools to support the process. We will be discussing the goals and services and the process of NetBIOS enumeration and Scanning enumeration.  What is penetration testing? Penetration testing or  Ethical hacking is a simulation of cyber-attacks to a computer system or application or infrastructure to detect vulnerabilities, if any. Penetration testing provides great insights on the list of vulnerabilities which we can categorize and rank as high, medium and low. We fix these vulnerabilities depending on the business requirement and timelines. Let us understand the various phases of penetration testing Description of Enumeration Enumeration is the phase 3 of the Penetration Testing or Ethical Hacking. It is a process of gaining complete access to the system by compromising the vulnerabilities identified in the first two phases. The Scanning stage only helps to identify the vulnerabilities to a certain extent, but  Enumeration helps us learn the complete details such as users, groups and even system level details – routing tables. This phase of the Ethical hacking is to gain end-to-end knowledge of what will be tested in the target environment. Tools are deployed to gain complete control over the system. Significance of Enumeration Enumeration is the most critical aspect of Ethical hacking. The metrics, outcomes, results are used directly in testing the system in the next steps of penetration testing.  Enumeration helps us to decipher the detailed information – Hostnames, IP tables, SNMP and DNS, Application, Banners, Audit configurations and service settings. The significance of Enumeration is that it systematically collects details. This allows pentesters to completely examine the systems.  The pentesters collect information about the weak links during the enumeration phase of ethical hacking.  Enumeration helps in finding the attack Vectors and threats. Enumeration Classification We can perform enumeration on the following: Enumeration and its types – Tool box Enumeration as a process extracts the user names, machine names, network resources, shares and services from the ecosystem.  There is a robust toolbox that helps the enumeration process become scalable. This is a mix of software and hardware systems.  There are free and commercial software tools for the enumeration. The hardware tools are mainly the key loggers and special wireless hardware. The pentesters find the right and optimum way to reach the various components of the systems. Techniques for Enumeration Types of information enumerated by intruders: The types of the information enumerated by intruders are the following: Network source Users and groups Routing tables Audit settings Service configuration settings The various machine names Applications Banners SNMP details DNS details Services and Port to Enumerate What are the goals of the Enumeration? Goal 1 – To map the end-to-end details that we need to check after the enumeration step Goal 2  - The ways to execute the attacks in the upcoming phases Goal 3 – Identify all the information we need to do the execution in future testing Goal 4 – Compile a list of devices with configuration for testing Goal 5 – Complete the network map to finalize the steps for testing Goal 6 – Compile the list of people who support the testing Goal 7 – Collect even irrelevant information that might still be significant in the future Process of Enumeration Tools supporting EnumerationToolUseServiceNmapNetwork mapperUsed to discover port and service information on a targetNessusService and vulnerability scanner.Used to identify vulnerable servicesWPScanWordPress vulnerability scannerUsed to identify vulnerable WordPress applicationsSearchsploitCLI tool for exploit.db for exploitsUsed to look up exploits for services.GoBusterWeb directory brute forcerUsed to discover directories on web servers.DigDomain Information GroperUsed to query DNS serversNmblookupSMB share lookup.Used to find any open and exposed SMB shares  Dnsenum  Used to enumerate DNS information  Port – Scanning Enumeration Port scanning is the most common form of enumeration. This is used to discover the various services which can exploit the systems. This includes all the systems that are connected to LAN or accessing the network via the modem which runs the services.  We can find out what services are running, who are the owners of these services and if any of them  requires a separate authenticationPort scanning techniques S.No  Technique  Process  1.Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) scanSeries of ARP broadcasts are sent, and the value for the target IP address field is incremented in each broadcast packet to discover active devices on the local network segmentThis scan helps us to map out the entire network 2.Vanilla TCP connect scanBasic scanning that uses system call of an operating system to open a connection to every port3.TCP SYN (Half Open) scanMost common type of scana technique that a malicious hacker uses to determine the state of a communications port without establishing a full connection4.TCP FIN ScanThis scan can remain undetected through most firewalls, packet filters, and other scan detection programs5.STEALTH SCANNING – NULL, X-MASThis scan crafts the packets flags in a way as if we are trying to induce some type of response from the target without actually going through the handshaking process and establishing a connection6.UDP ICMP Port ScanThis scan is used to find high number ports, especially in Solaris systems. The scan is slow and unreliable.7.TCP Reverse Ident ScanThis scan discovers the username of the owner of any TCP connected process on the targeted system. It helps an attacker to use the ident protocol to discover who owns the process by allowing connection to open portsNetBIOS Enumeration Net BIOS – Network Basic Input Output System NetBIOS helps in computer communication with LAN for sharing files and printers. They are primarily used for identifying the network devices. The naming is 16 characters – 15 characters for the device and the 16th denotes the service it runs. Attackers use the NetBIOS for scanning the list of computers per domain, policies and passwords and other shares in the network. Tools used – Nbtstat, superscan, Net View, Hyena Conclusion Enumeration is defined as the process of extracting usernames, machine names, network information and other services. Enumeration forms a critical step in the ethical hacking process, as obtaining the complete information is needed for the further steps – maintaining access and covering tracks. There are many techniques of enumeration which we have covered in this article. There are various tools depending on the use case available for enumeration including port scanning and NetBIOS. 

What Is Enumeration in Ethical Hacking?

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What Is Enumeration in Ethical Hacking?

In this article we will understand the key concepts of Enumeration from an ethical hacking point of view. We will learn about the fundamentals of penetration testing, and how enumeration forms a part of it. We will also explore the other concepts - types of Enumeration, Techniques to perform enumeration and tools to support the process. We will be discussing the goals and services and the process of NetBIOS enumeration and Scanning enumeration.  

What is penetration testing? 

Penetration testing or  Ethical hacking is a simulation of cyber-attacks to a computer system or application or infrastructure to detect vulnerabilities, if any. Penetration testing provides great insights on the list of vulnerabilities which we can categorize and rank as high, medium and low. We fix these vulnerabilities depending on the business requirement and timelines. 

Let us understand the various phases of penetration testing 

Phases of Penetration Testing Description of Enumeration 

Enumeration is the phase 3 of the Penetration Testing or Ethical Hacking. It is a process of gaining complete access to the system by compromising the vulnerabilities identified in the first two phases. The Scanning stage only helps to identify the vulnerabilities to a certain extentbut  Enumeration helps us learn the complete details such as users, groups and even system level details – routing tables. This phase of the Ethical hacking is to gain end-to-end knowledge of what will be tested in the target environment. Tools are deployed to gain complete control over the system. 

Significance of Enumeration 

Enumeration is the most critical aspect of Ethical hacking. The metrics, outcomes, results are used directly in testing the system in the next steps of penetration testing.  Enumeration helps us to decipher the detailed information – Hostnames, IP tables, SNMP and DNS, Application, Banners, Audit configurations and service settings. The significance of Enumeration is that it systematically collects details. This allows pentesters to completely examine the systems.  The pentesters collect information about the weak links during the enumeration phase of ethical hacking.  

Enumeration helps in finding the attack Vectors and threats. 

Enumeration Classification 

We can perform enumeration on the following: 

Enumeration Classification

Enumeration and its types – Tool box 

Enumeration as a process extracts the user names, machine names, network resources, shares and services from the ecosystem.  There is a robust toolbox that helps the enumeration process become scalable. This is a mix of software and hardware systems.  There are free and commercial software tools for the enumeration. The hardware tools are mainly the key loggers and special wireless hardware. The pentesters find the right and optimum way to reach the various components of the systems. 

Techniques for Enumeration 

Techniques for Enumeration

Types of information enumerated by intruders: 

The types of the information enumerated by intruders are the following: 

  1. Network source 

  1. Users and groups 

  1. Routing tables 

  1. Audit settings 

  1. Service configuration settings 

  1. The various machine names 

  1. Applications 

  1. Banners 

  1. SNMP details 

  1. DNS details 

Services and Port to Enumerate 

Services and Port to Enumerate

What are the goals of the Enumeration? 

Goal 1 – To map the end-to-end details that we need to check after the enumeration step 

Goal 2  - The ways to execute the attacks in the upcoming phases 

Goal 3 – Identify all the information we need to do the execution in future testing 

Goal 4 – Compile a list of devices with configuration for testing 

Goal 5 – Complete the network map to finalize the steps for testing 

Goal 6 – Compile the list of people who support the testing 

Goal 7 – Collect even irrelevant information that might still be significant in the future 

Process of Enumeration 

Process of Enumeration Tools supporting Enumeration

ToolUseService
NmapNetwork mapperUsed to discover port and service information on a target
NessusService and vulnerability scanner.Used to identify vulnerable services
WPScanWordPress vulnerability scannerUsed to identify vulnerable WordPress applications
SearchsploitCLI tool for exploit.db for exploitsUsed to look up exploits for services.
GoBusterWeb directory brute forcerUsed to discover directories on web servers.
DigDomain Information GroperUsed to query DNS servers
NmblookupSMB share lookup.Used to find any open and exposed SMB shares  
Dnsenum  
Used to enumerate DNS information  

Port – Scanning Enumeration 

Port scanning is the most common form of enumeration. This is used to discover the various services which can exploit the systems. This includes all the systems that are connected to LAN or accessing the network via the modem which runs the services.  We can find out what services are running, who are the owners of these services and if any of them  requires a separate authentication

Port scanning techniques 

S.No  Technique  Process  
1.Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) scan
  • Series of ARP broadcasts are sent, and the value for the target IP address field is incremented in each broadcast packet to discover active devices on the local network segment
  • This scan helps us to map out the entire network 
2.Vanilla TCP connect scanBasic scanning that uses system call of an operating system to open a connection to every port
3.TCP SYN (Half Open) scan
  • Most common type of scan
  • a technique that a malicious hacker uses to determine the state of a communications port without establishing a full connection
4.TCP FIN ScanThis scan can remain undetected through most firewalls, packet filters, and other scan detection programs
5.STEALTH SCANNING – NULL, X-MASThis scan crafts the packets flags in a way as if we are trying to induce some type of response from the target without actually going through the handshaking process and establishing a connection
6.UDP ICMP Port ScanThis scan is used to find high number ports, especially in Solaris systems. The scan is slow and unreliable.
7.TCP Reverse Ident ScanThis scan discovers the username of the owner of any TCP connected process on the targeted system. It helps an attacker to use the ident protocol to discover who owns the process by allowing connection to open ports

NetBIOS Enumeration 

Net BIOS – Network Basic Input Output System 

NetBIOS helps in computer communication with LAN for sharing files and printers. 

They are primarily used for identifying the network devices. 

The naming is 16 characters – 15 characters for the device and the 16th denotes the service it runs. 

Attackers use the NetBIOS for scanning the list of computers per domain, policies and passwords and other shares in the network. 

Tools used – Nbtstatsuperscan, Net View, Hyena 

Conclusion 

Enumeration is defined as the process of extracting usernames, machine names, network information and other services. Enumeration forms a critical step in the ethical hacking process, as obtaining the complete information is needed for the further steps – maintaining access and covering tracks. There are many techniques of enumeration which we have covered in this article. There are various tools depending on the use case available for enumeration including port scanning and NetBIOS. 

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How much do Ethical Hackers Earn?

IntroductionTechnology has flourished at break neck speed in the past decade. Inventions and innovations have transformed the way we live and work. We live in an interconnected world where everything is online. While this has made our lives easier, it has also made us vulnerable to sophisticated cyber criminals, who at their malicious best attack not just an individual but even a company, and in more brazen attacks even a nation's security and financial health.According to the latest report by Verizon, 70% of cybercrimes were caused by malicious hackers and outsiders. With a lot of sensitive data now being present online, the perception threat has steadily grown over the years.One of the foremost methods to prevent cybercrime is to reinforce the security of IT systems. Moreover, adding a dedicated team of ethical hackers to the workforce can help fix loopholes and prevent malicious attacks. With the surge in cybercrime, the need for cybersecurity has increased. 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The hacker can find out the incoming mails and get to know the details.Buffer OverflowA process where there is more data added to the buffer and the excess data becomes corrupted and susceptible to vulnerabilities.Business logic vulnerabilityThe software code may be missing a security control like authentications, encryption, or authorization.CRLF InjectionCarriage Return Line Feed – Can be done by modifying the HTTP parameter of the URL.CSV InjectionWhen untrusted CSV files are embedded to the websites causing vulnerabilities.Catch Null Pointer ExceptionWhen the program contains the null pointer, it is highly risky.Covert storage channelThis can help the attackers easily and often happens due to faulty implementation.Deserialization of untrusted dataInjection of malicious data into the applications to stop execution of programs.Directory Restriction ErrorHappens due to the improper use of CHROOT.Doubly freeing memoryThis error occurs when free() is called more than once in the memory address.Empty String PasswordEmpty string password is highly insecure.Expression Language InjectionInjection happens when attacker-controlled data enters an EL interpreter.Full Trust CLR Verification issue Exploiting Passing Reference Types by ReferenceCreate a file called by ValueTypeTest.cs and compile it using csc by Value Type Test.csc.Heartbleed BugCatastrophic bug in OpenSSLImproper Data ValidationMultiple validation forms with the same name indicate that validation logic is not up-to-date.Improper pointer subtractionThe subtraction of one pointer from another to determine the size is dependent on the assumption that both pointers exist in the same memory chunk.Information exposure through query strings in url Information exposure through query strings in URL is when sensitive data is passed to parameters in the URL.Injection problemThe basic form of this flaw involves the injection of control-plane data into the data-plane in order to alter the control flow of the processInsecure Compiler OptimizationImproperly scrubbing sensitive data from memory can compromise security.Insecure RandomnessInsecure randomness errors occur when a function that can produce predictable values is used as a source of randomness in security-sensitive context.Insecure Temporary FileCreating and using insecure temporary files can leave application and system data vulnerable to attacks.Insecure Third-Party Domain AccessOccurs when an application contains content provided from a 3rd party resource that is delivered without any type of content scrub.Insecure TransportThe application configuration should ensure that SSL is used for all access-controlled pages.Insufficient EntropyPseudo Random Number Generators are susceptible to suffering from insufficient entropy when they are initialized, because entropy data may not be available to them yet.Insufficient Session-ID LengthSession identifiers should be at least 128 bits long to prevent brute-force session guessing attacksLeast Privilege ViolationThe elevated privilege level required to perform operations such as chroot () should be dropped immediately after the operation is performed.Memory leakA memory leak is an unintentional form of memory consumption whereby the developer fails to free an allocated block of memory when no longer needed.Missing Error HandlingMust define a default error page for 404 errors, 500 errorsMissing XML ValidationFailure to enable validation when parsing XML gives an attacker the opportunity to supply malicious input.Multiple admin levelsMultiple level admins may alter the login credentialsOther list of VulnerabilitiesNull DereferenceOWASP .NET Vulnerability ResearchOverly Permissive Regular ExpressionPHP File InclusionPHP Object Injection PRNG Seed ErrorPassword Management Hardcoded PasswordPassword Plaintext StoragePoor Logging PracticePortability FlawPrivacy ViolationProcess ControlReturn Inside Finally BlockSession Variable OverloadingString Termination ErrorUnchecked Error ConditionUnchecked Return Value Missing Check against NullUndefined BehaviorUnreleased ResourceUnrestricted File UploadUnsafe JNIUnsafe Mobile CodeUnsafe function call from a signal handlerUnsafe use of ReflectionUse of Obsolete MethodsUse of hard-coded passwordUsing a broken or risky cryptographic algorithmUsing freed memoryVulnerability templateXML External Entity (XXE) ProcessingWhat is Vulnerability Analysis?Vulnerability analysis is a procedure to check all the vulnerabilities in the systems, computers and other ecosystem tools. The vulnerability analysis helps in the analyzing, recognizing and ranking of the vulnerabilities as per the severity. It helps with the identification and assessment of threat details, enabling us to keep a resolution to protect them from hackers. The analysis can be done for every industry from Healthcare to Retail to IT.Objectives of the Vulnerability analysisTo identify vulnerabilities – Configuration, system, Design, Code, ProcessDocumenting the vulnerabilitiesPreparation of guidance to mitigate the vulnerabilitiesImportance of Vulnerability AnalysisDeep dive insights of the security issuesHelps us understand the risks associated with the entire ecosystemFor security breachesAssets that are prone to cyber attacksSteps for the vulnerability AnalysisHow to check if the organization requires Vulnerability AnalysisTypes of Vulnerability AssessmentNetwork Based ScansTo identify network vulnerabilities. This scan helps to find the vulnerable systems in the wired and wireless networksHost Based ScansThis scan is to identify vulnerabilities in the ports, configuration, server workstations, other hosts and patch historyWireless Network ScansComplete scan on wireless networks to find the vulnerabilitiesApplication ScansTo test all portals and mobile applications for vulnerabilitiesDatabase ScansTo scan all the databases for potential vulnerabilitiesModels of Vulnerability in Ethical HackingFirewall modelInsider attacks -  A Perimeter firewall should be decided and this can take care of the external attacksMissed security patchesWhen the patch management of firewall has not happenedConfiguration issuesIf there are faults in the configuration of firewallDDOS attacksOnly allow legitimate traffic to avoid these attacksPassword modelTo crack the password the hacker uses any of the following – Dictionary, Hybrid model and Brute forceLogical BombingThis usually happens when the hacker uses a malicious code to inject the web application or the cloud infrastructureWeb HijackingThis happens when an unauthorized user tries to access the application bypassing the authorization mechanismProtection from HackingWe need to follow some simple steps to prevent hackingUpdating of Operating systemsInstallation of the proper firewall to prevent intrusionDestroying all personal information from all the web sourcesNo use of Open Wi-FiPassword – Strong password which is not easy to find outSmart emailing – Avoid opening of phishing mailsKeep the sensitive data in the protected environmentIgnore spamShut down the systems after useSecure the networkBack up the dataConclusionIn this article we have discussed the various vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to gain unauthorized access to a system. Best practices and techniques on how to find the vulnerabilities are also discussed. We have discussed the analysis of vulnerabilities and how it helps in preventing the system from being hacked. Finally, we have discussed models of vulnerabilities in ethical hacking and the ways to keep ourselves protected from hacking.
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Introduction to Vulnerability Analysis in Ethical ...

IntroductionIn this article we will discuss the va... Read More