Definition: Scanning refers to a technique used by crackers to discover information system weaknesses. Specifically, illegitimate users send out automated messages to probe or “recon” network connections and information systems to determine if “openings” or weaknesses exist on a targeted system. Crackers then deploy malicious code for the purpose of taking advantage of any discerned vulnerabilities. Hackers are also looking for common vulnerabilities are routinely disclosed on hacker sites on the web. Hackers also take advantage of vulnerabilities created by the infrastructure owner when the systems are configured. The effort is organized.
Its Relevance: Literally thousands of crackers automatically run reconnaissance against existing information systems. Exploits can be deployed against discovered vulnerabilities and the infrastructure can be intruded upon. Information security policies must exist that specify how illicit inquiries from the Internet are handled by the system.