Dennis Faas's picture

In computer terminology, a honeypot is a trap set to detect, deflect, or in some manner counteract attempts at unauthorized use of information systems. Generally it consists of a computer, data, or a network site that appears to be part of a network, but is actually isolated, (un)protected, and monitored, and which seems to contain information or a resource of value to attackers.

Honeypot Function

A honeypot is valuable as a surveillance and early-warning tool. While it is often a computer, a honeypot can take other forms, such as files or data records, or even unused IP address space.

Honeypots should have no production value, and hence should not see any legitimate traffic or activity. Whatever they capture is therefore malicious or unauthorized. One practical implication of this is honeypots that thwart spam by masquerading as the type of systems abused by spammers. They categorize trapped material 100% accurately: it is all illicit.

Honeypots can carry risks to a network, and must be handled with care. If they are not properly walled off, an attacker can use a honeypot to break into a system.

Types of Honeypots

Honeypots can be classified based on their deployment and based on their level of involvement. Based on the deployment, honeypots may be classified as Production Honeypots or Research Honeypots.

Production Honeypots

Production honeypots are easy to use, capture only limited information, and are used primarily by companies or corporations. Production honeypots are placed inside the production network with other production servers by organization to improve their overall state of security.

Research Honeypots

Research honeypots are run by a volunteer, non-profit research organization or an educational institution to gather information about the motives and tactics of the Blackhat community targeting different networks. These honeypots do not add direct value to a specific organization. Instead they are used to research the threats organizations face, and to learn how to better protect against those threats. This information is then used to protect against those threats.

This document is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), which means that you can copy and modify it as long as the entire work (including additions) remains under this license.

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