Adversaries may execute active reconnaissance scans to gather information that can be used during targeting. Active scans are those where the adversary probes victim infrastructure via network traffic, as opposed to other forms of reconnaissance that do not involve direct interaction.
Active Scanning: Scanning IP Blocks
Adversaries may scan victim IP blocks to gather information that can be used during targeting. Public IP addresses may be allocated to organizations by block, or a range of sequential addresses.
Adversaries may scan IP blocks in order to Gather Victim Network Information, such as which IP addresses are actively in use as well as more detailed information about hosts assigned these addresses. Scans may range from simple pings (ICMP requests and responses) to more nuanced scans that may reveal host software/versions via server banners or other network artifacts.
Active Scanning: Vulnerability Scanning
Adversaries may scan victims for vulnerabilities that can be used during targeting. Vulnerability scans typically check if the configuration of a target host/application (ex: software and version) potentially aligns with the target of a specific exploit the adversary may seek to use.
These scans may also include more broad attempts to Gather Victim Host Information that can be used to identify more commonly known, exploitable vulnerabilities. Vulnerability scans typically harvest running software and version numbers via server banners, listening ports, or other network artifacts.