Today, when the world has shifted to an online platform where payments, sales, and communications are all carried out through these internet platforms, it is essential to maintain the security of all the data we share.
Cybersecurity has been a major concern of the current generation because of the increasing rate of cybercrimes and new hacking technologies coming up every day.
People share pictures, have confidential conversations and documents over cloud servers, access their banks through net banking, and there are many crucial roles where the lack of safety and security can lead to big trouble.
With the increasing threats and possibilities to break down a server, more secure systems and algorithms are being implemented like Antiviruses, Firewalls, VPN detectors, 2 Factor Authentication, integrating biometric and retinal locks, etc.
This security software and technologies have been rapidly flourishing with time. Recent and highlighted security services have earned great appreciation and marvelous reviews from tech geniuses. It is the Honeypot Security.
What is a Honeypot?
Honeypot is a security framework that serves as a trap for attackers. It creates a virtual trap to lure the attackers into a vulnerable database or any cloud framework connected to different servers.
A computer system is intentionally compromised to make it prone to attacks, so the flaws in the security policies can be evolved and made better by studying the attack’s results on the intentionally compromised system.
A honeypot is flexible, which means it can be integrated with any computing source like software, networks, files and routers.
It is like an illusion program that deceives the attacker to help the security teams better understand the demerits of the current security system and overcome those flaws.
Honeypots are used to understand the operational methods of cybercrime. Honeypot also helps in reducing the risk of false positives.
Honeypot Security provides great insight for computing devices and servers to keep a check on the vulnerability and easily accessible breach points by any attacker.
This security mode plays a major role in the testing phase because it can help the owner or user give the weak points and the areas prone to attacks from anywhere on the Internet.
It has immense popularity in wide databases and servers because of its effectiveness and threat prediction and prevention algorithm.
Honeypot security can raise an alarm of concern even before a real attack has happened, preparing the firewalls and protective shields to safeguard their server or data on those parameters.
How Does Honeypot Work?
Honeypot works on a deception mechanism to lure hackers into a vulnerable system. It looks like a real computer with applications and data which deceives cybercriminals into perceiving it as a natural and easy target.
For instance, a honeypot could copy a company’s billing system, an ideal target for cybercriminals to find customers’ details and credit card numbers.
Once the hacker dives into this virtual target, it can be traced and also, the real security systems can be made more enhanced depending on the hacking technology that has been traced.
Honeypots are intentionally made to look vulnerable to attract hackers. The purpose of setting up a honeypot is not for a specified reason, like backing up the firewall or antivirus.
Its usage is more of an information tool that can help determine the possible threats and glitches in any system to secure them before a real attack happens.
Types of Honeypots
Several types of honeypots are set up to analyze different types of threats. They are classified into different categories because the main objective of setting them up leads to different results. Some of the most frequently used Honeypot setups are:
- Email traps: They are also known as spam traps. They place a fake email address in an unauthorised or hidden location where only an automated address harvester can access it.
- Since the use of the email is only for detecting spam, all the emails and links coming over that email can be considered spam and should be blocked, and the source IP of the senders can be added to the denylist.
- Decoy Database: These are used for testing software glitches and vulnerabilities. They also help in monitoring spot attacks. Spot attacks indulge in breaching insecure system architecture or using SQL injection.
- Malware Honeypot: It replicates software apps and APIs to lure malware attacks. The type of malware can then be studied to eliminate it from the system, or a better defence mechanism from such malware can be framed.
- Spider Honeypot: Such honeypots aim to track web crawlers who are termed as “spider” by creating web pages that are only accessible to these web crawlers. It is later utilised in blocking malicious bots and ad-network crawlers.
- High Interaction Honeypot: This setup lures the hackers to spend as much time as possible on the Honeypot to get as much information as possible about the level of threat and the data being explored and copied by the cybercriminals.
- These help the researchers better understand the medium and magnitude of the threat and find better solutions for it.
- Low Interaction Honeypot: These honeypots have fewer resources and are set up to determine the basic information about the threat. It is easy to set up such honeypots compared to High Interaction Honeypots. Using these honeypots, it is not possible to deeply analyse the threat because of the scarcity of information gathered by these honeypots.
There are many advantages and applications of setting up a honeypot. It can help in security, informative and testing purposes. Here is a list of applications that Honeypot offers the user:
- By monitoring the traffic coming over the honeypot setup, it is possible to track down the following details:
- The location from where the cybercriminals are coming.
- The level of threat.
- A brief idea about the modus operandi used by them.
- Area of interest of the cybercriminals.
- The ability of the system to protect itself from such threats and attacks.
- Honeypots are excellent ways of determining vulnerabilities in any major system like Blockchain. It also helps the developers to improve the security methods.
- It is easier to determine genuine cybercriminals as honeypots cannot receive any legitimate traffic, so all of the traffic is from spam or hackers.
- Honeypots help in identifying patterns and do an effective threat analysis. The IP addresses of the threats can be classified along with the reason from where they are sweeping the network.
- One great advantage of using honeypot security is that the malicious addresses that you have encountered on your Honeypot might be the only ones visible, making the attack much easier to identify.
- Honeypots are resource-light because of the less traffic experienced. No legitimate traffic can be found on these honeypots. Therefore, it is easy to set up these honeypots using low-cost hardware.
- Coming to the software part, many ready-written honeypots are available, which reduces the efforts in setting up a honeypot trap.
- Honeypots have a low false-positive rate which helps to channelize the efforts and give directions on a priority basis about the vulnerabilities to be fixed. In contrast, an Intrusion Detection System(IDS) can lead to a high level of false alerts.
Spambots cannot see that field, and once the form submission is done, the authorized user can check if that field is marked or has been left empty. If the field is left empty, it indicates that a spambot has filled it, which is then blocked immediately.
The principle of Honeypot is quite simple here; it is based on the fact that bots are unable to identify those fields.
Some bots vaguely fill all the fields, whether it is necessary or not to fill that field for form submission.
This is how Honeypot catches the bot. Honeypot adds an extra field to the form, and in case that field that was not required is filled, then the form will not be validated for submission.
Honeypot Network and Honeypot Server
Honeypot networks are those misleading networks that have been established using certain IP protocols to lure cybercriminals into honeypot traps.
This network is embedded on the Internet and acts as a normal network, but ordinary traffic cannot access it.
This network guides the cybercriminal to the page where the cybercriminal tries to extract vulnerable data or source code, but ultimately the network is draining up all the information from the hacker’s network and collecting it over the database used for that honeypot setup.
This network is carried by what is known as Honeypot Server. Honeypot Server hosts the network on which hackers can be lured into these traps without knowing that it is not a normal server.
A honeypot technology is any hardware or software, whether it be a database, a server, a network or a router that uses the principles of Honeypot. These gadgets or firmware have an exposed weakness or vulnerability.
For instance, a port that can be accessed without a password is a honeypot technology if it has been designed to lure hackers into it and drain important information from the port, but in reality, there is no genuine information or database that has been stored in that port.
In contrast, the hacker is busy consuming the data from that port. The honeypot network used by the hacker filters out all the essential information to identify and block that threat to avoid such cases in genuine vulnerabilities.
Disadvantages of Honeypot
The honeypot technology comes with its demerits. Some of the major flaws that the honeypot technicians are dealing with are:
- Limited Data: Honeypots can only collect data when a hacker breaches them over the Honeypot network or an attack occurs.
- If there is no attack, it means there is no data to analyse. So, if no hacker tries to access the Honeypot for a long time, it will remain passive with no useful data.
- Isolated Network: Malicious traffic or threat data is only collected when an attack activates the honeypot network.
- Hence, it allows the cybercriminals to carefully escape from the trap by not activating the honeypot network. Hackers often suspect that it is a honeypot network and will not disturb it.
- Distinguishable: Honeypots can be classified differently from genuine computing systems, making it easier for cybercriminals to avoid that setup. Using fingerprint techniques, professional hackers can easily differentiate between a honeypot and a legitimate network.
- Put the production system at risk: Honeypot networks are excluded from the real networks, but it still has a connection link for the administrator to collect data into his original database from the Honeypot.
- This can sometimes lead to professional hackers reaching up to a real network using the Honeypot.
- A high interaction honeypot carries more risk because it focuses on enticing hackers to gain root access to extract more data.
What is a Honeypot Trap?
Honeypot traps are networks, servers, software, or routers put on the Internet on an isolated network that cannot be visited by legitimate traffic.
Only hackers and cybercriminals try to access and exploit any vulnerability found to breach the security layers. Honeypot traps can be set up using a mimic of a company’s billing system, which is a very useful and attractive target for the hacker.
The trap is set in a way that the hacker wanders on the honeypot network for a good amount of time without noticing that the server is draining data from the hacker’s side like the IP, address location, the magnitude of the threat, techniques used in breaching and several breach attempts.
These honeypot traps effectively provide a large amount of data of these cyberattacks and open possibilities to a better and more secure system.
What is a Honeypot in Cybersecurity?
Honeypot in cyber security is a security mechanism that creates a virtual trap for cybercriminals and lures them into it.
To reduce cyber crimes like hacking someone’s private data, getting unauthorized access to any cloud storage, obtaining banking details and credit card numbers from E-commerce websites, honeypots are used.
Such prone and interesting databases are left exposed with a visible defect that can be used to breach the security layers and access the data that the hacker is interested in, but the network is isolated from the general network, and there is not a single authentic data or details which the cybercriminals can use.
The administrators can use the data collected on the Honeypot set up to learn about the methods and vulnerabilities that the cybercriminal used to get into that setup which can ultimately help reduce cybercrimes by blocking and spamming the cybercriminals.
The most suitable approach till now is to implement a package. Different systems have different layers of interaction. The more interaction is permitted, the more details about the hacker and the objective to hack can be obtained.
Although, more implementation increases the setup cost and maintenance of the system.
There might also be an additional risk of the hacker escaping from the isolated network of the Honeypot into a real network where there is authentic data and a lot of options to hack the unprotected data.
There are some packages available in the market, both paid and free versions, such as the following:
- Kippo: Medium interaction honeypot, which allows presenting an SSH server. Kippo stores and allows replay of the attack.
- Glastopf: Low interaction honeypot that takes care of vulnerabilities such as SQL injection.
- Dionaea: It is a window-based software used to collect malware.
What is the most prominent difference between a Honeypot and a Honeynet?
Honeynets are extended and larger groups of Honeypots. A honeypot is an independent and virtual machine, whereas a honeynet is a series of such honeypots.
While attacking honeynets, the hackers will not find a single computing unit to break through. Instead, many servers are fabricated differently and framed.
By watching the movement of the cybercriminal on the honeynet, you can get a more detailed idea about the threat pattern and objective of the attack. One of the highlights of the honeynets is that they connect and interact as a real network would.
Honeynets and honeypots are the building blocks of deception technology. Smaller honeypots can be connected using a real network to create a honeynet, a smarter and more authentic way of trapping cybercriminals and analyzing the data.
The attack made on an intentionally exposed server or database to achieve information about the hacker and analyze the techniques used for hacking to make better security policies on the real network is called a Honeypot attack.
The attacks are made by hackers and cybercriminals assuming that it is an authentic database with a usable vulnerability, and when they attack the Honeypot, based on the level of interaction, the amount of data is saved to the administrator of the Honeypot.