Survey and Taxonomy of Adversarial Reconnaissance Techniques

Shanto Roy, Nazia Sharmin, Jaime C. Acosta, Christopher Kiekintveld, Aron Laszka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Adversaries are often able to penetrate networks and compromise systems by exploiting vulnerabilities in people and systems. The key to the success of these attacks is information that adversaries collect throughout the phases of the cyber kill chain. We summarize and analyze the methods, tactics, and tools that adversaries use to conduct reconnaissance activities throughout the attack process. First, we discuss what types of information adversaries seek and how and when they can obtain this information. Then, we provide a taxonomy and detailed overview of adversarial reconnaissance techniques. The taxonomy introduces a categorization of reconnaissance techniques based on the source as third-party and human-, and system-based information gathering. This article provides a comprehensive view of adversarial reconnaissance that can help in understanding and modeling this complex but vital aspect of cyber attacks as well as insights that can improve defensive strategies, such as cyber deception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3538704
JournalACM Computing Surveys
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 7 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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