Objectives and Threats of Footprinting

Finding the level of risk connected with the organization's publicly available information is a crucial component of footprinting. Footprinting, also known as the preparatory phase is the first step in ethical hacking. The reconnaissance or footprinting part has the most weightage in the phases of hacking almost above 50%, making it the most crucial and vital.


  • Know your security Posture: The target organization's security posture can be fully profiled by performing footprinting on it. Hackers then can use the assessment to identify gaps in the target organization's security posture and create a hacking strategy in accordance with those findings. 
  • Reduce Focus Area:  Identify the focus area Using different tools and techniques, narrow down the range of IP addresses.
  • Identify Vulnerabilities: An attacker can use the collected information provided via detailed footprinting to identify weaknesses in the target’s security. This kind of information can then help in identifying the weakest link in the organization's security perimeter. 
  • Draw Network Map: Combining footprinting techniques with tools such as Tracert allows the attacker to create a graphical representation of the target’s network and use it as a guide in performing the attack.


  • Social Engineering or Information Leakage: An attacker can gather important sensitive information from employees who are unaware of the hacker's intent. With this information, hackers can mount an attack for monetary benefit.
  • System and Network Attacks: Attackers can find vulnerabilities by gathering the target organization's system configuration, the operating system running on the machine, etc and then exploit those. They might be able to take full control of the system or even the network. 
  • Privacy Loss: If hackers can get access to a system, they can escalate the privileges up to admin levels, ultimately resulting in the loss of privacy of an individual or organization. 
  • Business Loss: Footprinting has a major effect on e-commerce websites, online businesses, and finance sectors. 
  • Corporate Espionage: Competitors often aim to attempt to secure sensitive data. Footprinting makes it easier, which may result in the launch of similar products at lower prices. This can undermine the market position of the target organization. 

Attackers perform footprinting as the first step of any attack. They use such information to locate easier ways to break in, resulting in the loss of privacy and data.

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