How to Increase Business Security Using a Honeypot

One of the best ways to arm yourself against cybercriminals is by setting a lure.

By the year 2021, cybercrime damage is projected to hit $6 trillion per year. The prediction by Cybersecurity Ventures sees the numbers double from $3 trillion in 2015.

So how are businesses and corporations alike supposed to protect themselves from falling victim to this costly and dangerous threat?

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One of the best ways to arm yourself against cybercriminals is by setting a lure. In cybersecurity, this is commonly referred to as a honeypot.

What is a Honeypot?

Often cybercriminals are looking to get their hands on cyber assets that have the highest value combined with the weakest security.

Honeypots are created to look as though they are prime targets. Deliberately coded to be easily breached, it lures the hacker into attacking the honeypot, which is isolated from the rest of the network.

Essentially, a honeypot is just a decoy that looks appealing from a distance but actually doesn’t contain anything of value.

“Decoys are all about moving the threat from the real assets to the fake one, at the same time alerting you to the threats,” says Michael Davis, chief technology officer for CounterTack, a security firm that recommends more active defenses.

According to research from the Neustar International Council (NISC), 72% of companies stated that they either already used or were open to using honeypots as a form of deception technology.

A honeypot can be designed to look like anything found on the network. This includes file servers, web servers, print servers, etc. The good thing about honeypots is that they have a low false-positive rate.

They also work well in detecting internal and external hackers.

One of the most significant advantages of honeypot security software is that it doesn’t require much maintenance after the initial setup.

Dark Reading reports on the latest trends of cybercriminals. “If we look at the next generation of attacks, attackers are using less and less malware, they just find valid credentials online,” says John Strand, a pentester with consultancy Black Hills Information Security and an author of the book, Offensive Countermeasures: The Art of Active Defense. “They simply just login and they can walk in the front door as a legitimate user.”

Who Benefits from Honeypots

In reality, most companies can benefit from honeypots.

Only those companies that have bulletproof security don’t have any use for honeypots; however, those types of organizations are far and few in between.

Big-name corporations such as JPMorgan, Target, Home Depot, Chipotle, Tesco, Sony, and LinkedIn are just a few that have suffered from significant security breaches in the past few years.

Unsurprisingly, antivirus software providers, and cybersecurity companies are the biggest honeypot users.

There are, however, other industries where businesses can use honeypots to their advantage. For example, in retail, where credit card numbers carry one of the highest risk factors, honeypots can be used with fake credit card numbers.

Other fields working with high volumes of sensitive data such as financial services, healthcare, and government agencies can also benefit from using decoys.

‘In the U.S. large financial organizations have turned the hackers’ strengths into a weakness by implementing “active defense” through digital deception.

With the help of the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security, banks are creating “honeypots”, fake online bank accounts registered to a “fake” user.

When hacked, the forensic evidence has been used to track the location and methods of the hackers.’

Essential Things to Remember When Using a Honeypot

Remember to use various tools that will evaluate the activities which your honeypot is examining.

Also, it is important to implement machine learning to analyze the data that your honeypot is collecting.

Your honeypot must be in a controllable environment in order to be safe. If not, the hacker can easily compromise the operating system in question and gain access to its infrastructure.

While using a honeypot might seem straightforward and simple, in reality, it can often be a complex process to setup. It also takes around a month for it to run smoothly, with a few hundred changes to the rules.

If you aren’t sure about how to set up a honeypot, be sure to seek the help of professionals that will get you on the right path.

Final Word

Honeypots are a beneficial defense tool for virtually all businesses. They are able to contain dangerous attacks and also allow you to analyze new types of threats.

Though they seem simple to install, it is best to leave that part up to digital security experts.

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