War-Dialing Techniques | Scanning

War dialing is the process of dialing modem numbers to find an open modem connection that provides remote access to a network for an attack to be launched against the target system. The term war dialing originates from the early days of the Internet when most companies were connected to the Internet via dial-up modem connections. War dialing is included as a scanning method because it finds another network connection that may have weaker security than the main Internet connection. Many organizations set up remote-access modems that are now antiquated but have failed to remove those remote-access servers. This gives hackers an easy way into the network with much weaker security mechanisms. For example, many remote-access systems use the Password Authentication Protocol (PAP), which send passwords in cleartext, rather than newer virtual private networking (VPN) technology that encrypts passwords.
War-dialing tools work on the premise that companies don't control the dial-in ports as strictly as the firewall, and machines with modems attached are present everywhere even if those modems are no longer in use. Many servers still have modems with phone lines connected as a backup in case the primary Internet connection fails. These available modem connections can be used by a war-dialing program to gain remote access to the system and internal network.

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