In the past few weeks, we have discussed what a honeypot is, along with examples of various types of honeypots. This week we will discuss the objectives of a honeypot. At a macro-level there are two different objectives: research or production.
Research honeypots are used to generally study malicious behavior on the Internet and to identify potential bad actors—often by IP address. As they study malicious behavior, they gather information about attack trends, malware strains, and vulnerabilities that are actively being targeted by bad actors. This information can in turn be used to inform preventative defenses, prioritize when to apply a patch, and generally provide guidance on which processes and procedures need to be fortified.
In contrast, production honeypots are focused on identifying active attacks and compromise on an organization’s internal network and tricking the bad actor(s) in to assuming he/she is attacking real computer infrastructure. Information gathering is still a priority, as honeypots give you additional monitoring opportunities and fill in common detection gaps around identifying network scans and lateral movement. Production honeypots sit with the rest of an organization’s production infrastructure and run common services that would be expected in the organization’s environment.
Generally speaking, research honeypots tend to be more complex and store more types of data than production honeypots.
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