Enumeration is the process of gathering useful information about a target. It is the most valuable skill you can develop as a hacker. At the start of a penetration test, the goal is to learn as much about the target as you can. The information gathered in this phase will lay the groundwork for the rest of the penetration test. But enumeration doesn’t end once you’ve gained access to a target; it is an essential element of the entire pentest. As each vulnerability is exploited, you’ll gain additional access, information, and/or privileges, all of which enable additional enumeration.

The tools and techniques discussed in this chapter will help with the enumeration process, enabling you to gain as much information as possible about your targets, regardless of the current pentesting phase.