The honeypot acts as a decoy, diverting hackers’ attention away from the real target. It may also be used as a reconnaissance tool, with the adversary’s methodologies, capabilities, and sophistication assessed through intrusion efforts. Any digital asset, such as software programs, servers, or the network itself, can be used to create a honeypot. It is carefully constructed to resemble a valid target, with structure, components, and content that are similar to the actual target.
Honeypot intelligence is important in assisting businesses in evolving and improving their cybersecurity strategy in response to real-world threats. It also helps in identifying possible weak spots in existing architecture, information, and network security. A honeynet is a collection of honeypots that are designed to appear as though they are part of a genuine network, replete with various systems, databases, servers, routers, and other digital assets. The cybersecurity team can track all the malicious traffic inside this isolated network while preventing the movement of the attacker outside.
Examples of Honeypots deployed in IT infrastructure
- False/apparent looking database: In this type of honeypot, a decoy database is created with a motive to mislead the cyber attackers. These databases include dummy information that resembles the actual database, however sensitive business information is missing from the decoy database. The honeypot database has some system vulnerabilities and weak system design, SQL injections, etc. These vulnerabilities pose as a soft target & attract the hackers.
- Spam honeypot: Spam honeypots work by accepting all the emails without filtering out the spam mails & other proxies. The program opens the mails to reveal their IP address of the spammers so that it can be blocked by the IT team for protecting the network systems.
- Fake email address: In this case, a fake email address is created which is not visible to legitimate users. The email address can only be reached by automated address harvesters. Thus, the cyber security team is not required to analyze every email and can rest assured that all the emails received on this address are spams and sent by cyber attackers.
- Spider honeypot: The motive of spider honeypot is to identify spiders – automated web crawlers. A net of web pages and links is created which is concealed from legitimate search engine web crawlers. Only automated and malicious web crawlers can access them. This helps in identifying how bot crawlers work to develop a way to block them.
- Dummy malicious software: A dummy software or an application programming interface (API) is created to attract the malware attacks. This helps in studying the vulnerabilities that are exploited and the techniques used by the attacker. The information is then used by the cyber security team to develop an effective anti-malware system.
Classifying Honeypots by their Complexity of interaction with hackers
- Low-interaction honeypots: This type of honeypots is not designed to behave like production systems but can be scaled, if needed. Although they fail to hold the attention of cyber attackers for long but are useful in causing a distraction for some time.
- High-interaction honeypots: These honeypots are more sophisticated and pose as actual network target. They have the capability to engage the cyber attackers for a longer period and are used to study the malware attacks to improve cyber security practices.
- Pure honeypots: Pure honeypots are full-fledged network systems and are designed with mock information, user data, etc.
Advantages of deploying Honeypots
- Recognizing threat actors: Since honeypot systems are only accessible to malicious actors, it makes it easier for the cyber security teams to identify and block them.
- Break down attacker chain: While the attackers might be crawling through your organization’s network, honeypots can be used to stop these crawlers and trap them from moving further.
- Adaptation and evolution of ML-AI algorithms: Honeypots assist in studying the mode of action of cyber-attacks and help in adapting ML-AI algorithms to protect against modern attacks.
- Insider & Outsider threat detection: Honeypots are unique systems that not only help in recognizing malicious actors but also insider attackers.
- Hackers might detect a decoy and try to deceive with fake intrusion attempts in order to divert the attention of SOC Analysts away from actual attacks on legitimate system targets.
- False information is conveyed to the honeypot by hackers to enable them to conceal their identities and confuse the detection algorithms and analytical models.
Honeypots are just one part of a larger cybersecurity posture. When used alone, the honeypot will not be able to safeguard the company from a wide range of dangers and vulnerabilities.
Centex Technologies provides cyber security solutions to businesses. To know more, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740.