OAT-018 Footprinting

Footprinting is an automated threat. The OWASP Automated Threat Handbook - Web Applications (pdf, print), an output of the OWASP Automated Threats to Web Applications Project, provides a fuller guide to each threat, detection methods and countermeasures. The threat identification chart helps to correctly identify the automated threat.


OWASP Automated Threat (OAT) Identity Number


Threat Event Name


Summary Defining Characteristics

Probe and explore application to identify its constituents and properties.

Indicative Diagram

Indicative diagram for OAT-018


Information gathering with the objective of learning as much as possible about the composition, configuration and security mechanisms of the application. Unlike Scraping, Footprinting is an enumeration of the application itself, rather than the data. It is used to identify all the URL paths, parameters and values, and process sequences (i.e. to determine entry points, also collectively called the attack surface). As the application is explored, additional paths will be identified which in turn need to be examined.

Footprinting can also include brute force, dictionary and guessing of file and directory names. Fuzzing may also be used to identify further application resources and capabilities. However, it does not include attempts to exploit weaknesses.

Other Names and Examples

Application analysis; API discovery; Application enumeration; Automated scanning; CGI scanning; Crawler; Crawling; Excavation; Forced browsing; Forceful browsing; Fuzzing; Micro service discovery; Scanning; Spidering; WSDL scanning

See Also


CAPEC Category / Attack Pattern IDs

  • 169 Footprinting

CWE Base / Class / Variant IDs

  • 200 Information Exposure

WASC Threat IDs

  • 45 Fingerprinting

OWASP Attack Category / Attack IDs

  • -

Return to OWASP Automated Threats to Web Applications Project.