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Strategies Used in Deception Technology

On August 22, 2020

With the entire world becoming more technology driven, a lot of data and information is being stored online. The world is experiencing rapid development in the field of Information Technology like storage devices, speed, bandwidth, etc. Due to the sensitive nature of the information stored and privacy issues, security threats loom large as many hackers find it lucrative to hack the network. A single breach, however small, can result in huge losses to the organizations. Thus, it is imperative to devise a technology to secure the networks and prevent cyber attacks. To keep up with the changing times, a technology smart enough to anticipate attacks and prevent them on a real time basis is the need of the hour. This has given rise to Deception Technology.

Deception Technology defined:

Deception Technology is the first level of cyber security defense. It is a system that incorporates defense tactics into the automated servers and keeps the attacker at bay as far as the real or actual storage is concerned.

Decoys are placed to lure the attackers into a false sense of belief that they have access to the network. The instant a hacker tries to infiltrate the system, a trigger is alerted that instantly monitors and records the behaviour of the hacker. These records are further used to study the actions of the hacker and to use that knowledge to make the network more secure.

Even as the attacker is distracted into believing that he has hacked into the system, the security team is busy studying the methods adopted by him. This is done not only to understand what data he was after, but also to plug the security gaps in the system.

Understanding Deception Technology with an example : Honeypot

What is a honeypot?

A honeypot is a sacrificial computer system designed to lure cyber criminals in order to trap them. It is akin to laying a honey trap or honey pot in this case. It can be utilized to detect or redirect attacks from a valid target. It can also be used to collect knowledge about how cybercrime works and work it to an advantage for the security team.

How does it work?

It replicates a computer system loaded with applications and data that is set to fool the cyber criminals into thinking it is the real network. The technology will alleviate the damage done by misdirecting the attacker early in the infiltration process. This gives opportunity for the security team to learn from the tactics and actions of the attacker while they are distracted. For instance in the case of a credit card company that stores the credit card numbers of its customers, a honeypot can mimic the billing system.

It can be used as an information tool that provides insight into the computer’s vulnerable areas or areas that can easily accessed by the hackers. This helps understand the existing threats to the security systems and give an idea of future threats that might arise.

Decoys are currently also implemented as mock networks that operate on the same infrastructure as the actual networks. Earlier these decoys were handled manually, but now with advancement in technology the systems deployed are automated.

Legitimate users never access decoys, so with these techniques there are practically no false positives and intruders become visible much faster compared to earlier process flows where security had to wait for alerts based on behavior or malware detection to be notified. Deception technology tools provide significant advantages when it comes to detecting intruders early, which is key to minimizing the amount of damage that a cyber criminal can do.

Basic Strategy to use deception in computing :

Detailed below are the sequence of steps that need to be followed in order to develop a deception network.

  • The first step is to place the traps effectively into a target system.
  • The second step is to ensure a secure communication pathway which will lead to the deception center.
  • Finally, set-up an administration to ensure set-up and support effectively on a regular basis.

Some of the prominent advantages to the use of this technology are

  1. Easy and immediate identification of threats.
  2. Reduce the time spent by the intruder on the network thereby minimising risk to actual information.
  3. Helps increase the time needed to detect the attacks and study them.

Dead ends, false positives, and warning fatigue can all hamper protection measures, and place a drain on resources if not evaluated. Too much noise will cause IT teams to become complacent and miss what could potentially be a valid threat. Deception technology helps in the reduction of noise, with few false positives and high alerts. It is also a low risk technology, as the real data and information remains unaffected.

As mentioned earlier, due to automation many security solutions to deception have machine learning and AI incorporated into their core. These features ensure that the strategies used in deception are stable and help reduce organizational overheads. The security teams are also free from having to constantly develop new methodologies of deception.