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How Zero Trust Protects Organizations from Reconnaissance

Cyolo Team

Cyolo Team

Cybersecurity: Reconnaissance

Reconnaissance is the first step attackers take when planning a cybersecurity attack. It includes the gathering of information about the network and its vulnerabilities, prior to infiltration. Therefore, preventing reconnaissance activities is an important step in your cybersecurity protection plan, and arguably one of the most important ones. Zero trust can help block reconnaissance, and prevent attackers from advancing if they’re already in the network. Here’s how.

What is Reconnaissance?

Reconnaissance, the first step in the MITRE Att&ck framework, is the act of gathering information to prepare for a cybersecurity attack. Attackers use the reconnaissance stage to learn about the target network and its vulnerabilities. This information will later be used by the hacker to choose the right tools and attack methods. 

Which Information is Gathered in Reconnaissance?

Attackers gather information about the network and its components like servers, IP addresses, subdomains, usernames, and more. They also learn about security policies and they gather human information like email addresses and personal preferences. Basically, it’s any information that can be used for identifying and creating an attack plan.

Reconnaissance Methods

There are many methods attackers can use for reconnaissance, for example:

Network Reconnaissance Methods – Examples

  • Scanning servers with vulnerability scanners like Shodan
  • Looking at which technologies the company is implementing and searching for relevant vulnerabilities
  • Searching for SSL certificates that have been obtained and gathering information about the network
  • Looking for an organization’s IP range and scanning it
  • Extracting metadata from an organization’s public files, like geolocation from photos
  • Identifying customers through Linkedin connections and case studies to plan for a third party attack

Human Reconnaissance Methods – Examples

  • Searching for business emails with the company’s domain
  • Finding support personas and emails in forums
  • Getting credentials from third party websites that have been attacked 


How Zero Trust Can Help Block Reconnaissance

As you can see, reconnaissance options are plentiful. Therefore, organizations need a security model to help them block and minimize the risk of reconnaissance. That model is zero trust.

Zero trust is a security model that eliminates transitive trust by continually identifying and authenticating every device, user and identity before granting them access to network apps and assets. In addition, the network is cloaked for users, preventing network visibility.

These unique features of the zero trust security architecture prevent active scanning and gathering host information. The network and any information about vulnerabilities is hidden from the attackers. They cannot gather network information.

The remaining reconnaissance methods, and especially the human ones and methods based on public information, cannot be 100% prevented. However, zero trust ensures that even if attackers do infiltrate the network, they will not be able to advance in it.

Zero trust uses security measures like MFA and UBA before providing users with access to apps. In addition, as mentioned before, the network is not visible to them. Therefore, even if they were able to gain access, for example, they would not be able to proceed beyond their victim’s edge. As a result, zero trust prevents reconnaissance success from doing any substantial harm.

You can protect yourself from reconnaissance and other MITRE Att&cks with zero trust. See how Cyolo’s new zero trust solution protects you.

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