Whether you’re a CISO trying to move the needle on detect, know, and respond metrics or an IT team struggling with the flood of false positives from security tools, deception technology can help. It enables detection without compromising accurate data and allows you to observe attackers in a deception sandbox for deeper forensics safely.
Attackers who breach a network seek ways to maintain persistence by dropping backdoors. They also begin moving laterally to identify and exfiltrate information and intellectual property. They typically trigger alerts when they encounter decoys, traps, or lures on the network. Because they’re designed to mimic natural systems, these alerts are highly accurate and work with formats enterprise security teams already use – such as Syslog or OpenIOC – for rapid threat blocking. A good deception solution will create fake systems and lures at the perimeter, network layers, endpoints, and the cloud to entice, misdirect, and confuse attackers. Authentic decoys run natural operating systems and can be built to look like production assets. The system can even feign specific user credentials or other elements to trick attackers into engaging with them. Ideally, the decoys can identify and slow attackers so that other security controls can catch and stop them. There are several types of deception technology; however, it is essential to look for one that can provide threat intelligence in formats that will feed into your existing SIEMs and NAC solutions and support automation of the attack containment process, including triggering firewall rules and rerouting traffic to decoys or traps. When an attacker interacts with a decoy, the system will record the activity to study the attacker’s attack patterns and provide valuable information about the threat actor.
Just like those fake booby traps in movies that are triggered by an intruder and set off an alarm, tripwires inside your network are the digital equivalent of these. They help to alert you of an attack by triggering when an attacker interacts with internal decoy systems and credentials. When an attacker is in your network attempting to build persistence, steal credentials, or move laterally, the first thing they do is look for a backdoor. Often, they can find one and immediately begin exploiting it to gain access to your internal systems. Then, they start to search and find data and intellectual property that is of value to them. They also start to deploy and exfiltrate malware. Deception technology is designed to catch all these threat activities and share high-probability alerts with other security technologies to reduce the time to detect an attack and accelerate incident response. Because deception is based upon presence rather than signatures or heuristics, it can detect virtually any attack, including APTs, zero-days, reconnaissance, lateral movement, social engineering, man-in-the-middle attacks, and even ransomware. Many deception solutions include forensic analysis and reporting capabilities that your threat hunters can access from a single centralized console. This makes the solution a powerful tool to qualify medium and ‘warm’ alerts generated by other UEBA or IDS/IPS platforms.
The decoy assets, credentials, files, and data that makeup bait can be placed throughout the network to lure cyberattackers. Similar to a worm dangling from a fishing hook or cheddar cheese waiting on a mouse trap, attackers will waste time trying to infiltrate worthless assets until one false touch triggers an alert that can be fed into an existing security solution, like SIEM or endpoint detection and response (EDR). Unlike traditional threat detection methods based on comparing activity to a baseline, deception technology does not create false positive alerts. Instead, it provides the intelligence to recognize and respond to lateral movement attacks, spear phishing, and other advanced threats bypassing perimeter protections. When choosing a deception provider, consider whether it uses natural operating systems and is customizable to the production environment. It is also essential to look for a vendor that supports integrating their product into other security technologies. In addition to enabling security teams to stop attackers before they can cause damage, deception solutions should be able to provide metrics and behavior analytics on the attacker, including how long the attack has been going on. This can help organizations understand the threat landscape and how to improve their defenses by learning from what has already been attempted and identifying the next steps for the attacker.
When a lousy actor interacts with the bait to gather information or steal data or resources, the deception technology triggers an alert, giving security teams the time, context, and insight they need to respond quickly and confidently. The ability to engage an attacker with high fidelity, engagement-based alerts gives security teams the intelligence needed to shut down the attack, strengthen overall defense strategies, and level the playing field in the war of cybersecurity. In addition, deception solutions need deployment scalability, easy operation for operators, and integration with other security tools like firewalls, vulnerability managers, SIEM systems, and threat-hunting tools to enable rapid and accurate detection of advanced threats. Today, deception technologies offer an efficient and effective solution for organizations of all sizes looking to enhance their internal threat detection capabilities. Incorporating deception into a security strategy requires minimal investment and can give the defender an unwarranted advantage in defending their infrastructure. Many leading organizations have deployed deception for red/blue exercises, penetration tests, and as a supplement to existing security solutions for better threat detection and response.
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