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How to gather dns information ?

  • Passive mode
    • DNS Enumeration
    • OSINT
  • Offensive mode
    • spider websites
  • Tools
    • recon-ng
    • dnsrecon
    • theHarvester

Passive mode

DNS Enumeration

DNS enumeration is the process of locating all the DNS servers and their corresponding records for an organization. A company may have both internal and external DNS servers that can yield information such as usernames, computer names, and IP addresses of potential target systems. There are a lot of tools that can be used to gain information for performing DNS enumeration. The examples of tool that can be used for DNS enumeration are NSlookup, DNSstuff, American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), and Whois. To enumerate DNS, you must have understanding about DNS and how it works.

You must have knowledge about DNS records. The list of DNS record provides an overview of types of resource records (database records) stored in the zone files of the Domain Name System (DNS). The DNS implements a distributed, hierarchical, and redundant database for information associated with Internet domain names and addresses. In these domain servers, different record types are used for different purposes. The following list describes the common DNS record types and their use:

DNS Record types methods description
dns query A Address record, Returns a 32-bit IPv4 address, most commonly used to map hostnames to an IP address of the host, but it is also used for DNSBLs, storing subnet masks in RFC 1101, etc.
dns query CNAME Canonical name record, Alias of one name to another: the DNS lookup will continue by retrying the lookup with the new name.
dns query AAAA IPv6 address record, Returns a 128-bit IPv6 address, most commonly used to map hostnames to an IP address of the host.
dns query MX Mail exchange record, Maps a domain name to a list of message transfer agents for that domain
dns query NS Name server record, Delegates a DNS zone to use the given authoritative name servers
dns query SOA zone of] authority record, Specifies authoritative information about a DNS zone, including the primary name server, the email of the domain administrator, the domain serial number, and several timers relating to refreshing the zone.
dns query SPF Sender Policy Framework, a simple email-validation system designed to detect email spoofing by providing a mechanism to allow receiving mail exchangers to check that incoming mail from a domain comes from a host authorized by that domain's administrators.
dns query TXT Text record, Originally for arbitrary human-readable text in a DNS record.
dns query PTR Pointer record, Pointer to a canonical name. Unlike a CNAME, DNS processing stops and just the name is returned. The most common use is for implementing reverse DNS lookups, but other uses include such things as DNS-SD.
dns query SRV Service locator, Generalized service location record, used for newer protocols instead of creating protocol-specific records such as MX.
dns query NSEC Next Secure record, Part of DNSSEC—used to prove a name does not exist. Uses the same format as the (obsolete) NXT record.
dns query AXFR Authoritative Zone Transfer, Transfer entire zone file from the master name server to secondary name servers. DNS Zone Transfer is typically used to replicate DNS data across a number of DNS servers, or to back up DNS files. A user or server will perform a specific zone transfer request from a ―name server.‖ If the name server allows zone transfers to occur, all the DNS names and IP addresses hosted by the name server will be returned in human-readable ASCII text.
dns query IXFR Incremental Zone Transfer, Transfer entire zone file from the master name server to secondary name servers.
dns query DNS Wildcard Check if nameserver enable wildcard query, or dns faked.
dns query domain bruteforce bruteforce subdomains with wordlists.
dns query reverse bruteforce reverse ip for domain
dns query srv bruteforce bruteforce srv records
dns query gtld bruteforce bruteforce gtld records
dns query tld bruteforce bruteforce tld records


OSINT Categroy Description
OSInt Google Spider domains from Google pages with
OSInt Bing Spider domains from Bing pages with
OSInt Yahoo Spider domains from Yahoo with
OSInt Baidu Spider domains from Baidu with
OSInt Netcraft Spider domains from netcraft searchdns pages
OSInt Github Spider domain from github pages
OSInt Shodan Search domains from Shodan
OSInt Censys Search domains from censys
OSInt ZoomEye Search domains from ZoomEye

Offensive mode

offensive mode methods description
Websites Spider default page Scan default pages and spider domains
Websites Certificates Scan domains certificates


recon-ng Command Description
use recon/domains-hosts/baidu_site Search domains with baidu
use recon/domains-hosts/bing_domain_api Search domains with bing api
use recon/domains-hosts/bing_domain_web Search domains from bing web pages.
use recon/domains-hosts/brute_hosts Bruteforce subdomains
use recon/domains-hosts/google_site_api Search domains with google api
use recon/domains-hosts/google_site_web Search domains from google web pages.
use recon/domains-hosts/netcraft Search domains from netcraft pages.
dnsrecon Command Description
dnsrecon -n -d Pleaes use a valid dns server in order to avoid dns fake.
dnsrecon -d -t std SOA, NS, A, AAAA, MX and SRV if AXRF on the NS servers fail.
dnsrecon -d -t rvl Reverse lookup of a given CIDR or IP range.
dnsrecon -d -t brt -D /path/to/subdomains.wd Brute force domains and hosts using a given dictionary.
dnsrecon -d -t brt -D /path/to/subdomains.wd --iw Brute force domains and hosts using a given dictionary. Continue brute forcing a domain even if a wildcard records are discovered.
dnsrecon -d -t srv SRV records
dnsrecon -d -t axfr Test all NS servers for a zone transfer.
dnsrecon -d -t goo Perform Google search for subdomains and hosts.
dnsrecon -d -t tld Remove the TLD of given domain and test against all TLDs registered in IANA.
dnsrecon -d -t zonewalk Perform a DNSSEC zone walk using NSEC records.
dnsrecon -d --db /path/to/results.sqlite Save results in a sqlite file.
dnsrecon -d --xml /path/to/results.xml Save results in a xml file.
dnsrecon -d -c /path/to/results.csv Save results in a csv file.
dnsrecon -d -j /path/to/results.json Save results in a json file.
theHarvester Command Description
theharvester -d -b all Search google, googleCSE, bing, bingapi, pgp, linkedin,google-profiles, jigsaw, twitter, googleplus, all
theharvester -d -n Perform a DNS reverse query on all ranges discovered
theharvester -d -c Perform a DNS brute force for the domain name
theharvester -d -t Perform a DNS TLD expansion discovery
theharvester -d -e Specfic a dns server
theharvester -d -h use SHODAN database to query discovered hosts
Metasploit Command Description
msf > use auxiliary/gather/enum_dns gahter dns records information(A, AAAA, CNAME, ZoneTransfer, SRV, TLD, RVL, ...)