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Fun Things To Do With Your Honeypot System 136

An anonymous reader writes "Whitedust is running an interesting article on honeypots and their uses. From the article: 'Most papers deal with the potential gains a honeypot can give you, and the proper way to monitor a honeypot. Not very many of them deal with the honeypots themselves... Honeypots can be used to ensnare and beguile potential hackers; entice them to give you more research information, and actively defend your production network."" From the article: "Once an attacker has taken all the trouble to set up shop on your honeypot, he'll probably want to see what else there is to play with. If your honeypot is like most traditional honeypots, there's not much for an attacker to do once he gets in. What you really want if for the attacker to transfer down all the other toys in his arsenal so you can have a copy as well. Giving an attacker additional targets with various operating systems and services can help him decide to give you his toys. The targets can be real, but you'll get almost as much mileage if they're simulated. A good place to start is to put a phantom private network up hung off the back of the honeypot."
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Fun Things To Do With Your Honeypot System

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  • by aaronhaley ( 145305 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yelahnoraa.> on Sunday July 30, 2006 @02:31PM (#15812326) Homepage
    In addition to all of the things on the network I normally have to do at the office let me set up an entire phantom network just to "jack" with hackers. Yeah, I'll get right on that.
    • Sounds like a good idea for a livecd, actually.
  • What is Honeypot (Score:3, Informative)

    by in2mind ( 988476 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @02:31PM (#15812329) Homepage
    For those who dont know what a honeypot is: [From Wikipedia.]

    Honeypot is literally the term for a container of honey but is used in several different ways, often playing off the image of sweetness being used as a lure:

    * A computer system set up as a trap for attackers; see Honeypot (computing)
    * Traps designed to catch conventional criminals; see honey trap

    • Re:What is Honeypot (Score:2, Informative)

      by portmapper ( 991533 )
      A honey trap is fun to prepare, but beware of actually beeing exploited. To limit damage, it will help to put a transparent firewall in front of the honeypot and start blocking (perhaps allow a few outbound connections, and then block). You don't want your owned honeyput as a base of attack, do you? The OpenBSD [] packet filter [] has the needed funcionality using an OS that does not have a few local root kernel exploits a month.
      • I understand it's customary not to RTFA before commenting. However for those amongst us, who do break that rule from time to time, the TFA is actually discussing that very issue in the paragraph "Traffic Mangling":

        Once you've got the Wiley hacker attacking your honeypot, the last thing you want to do is let him attack the rest of your network from the honeypot, or worse, attack someone else's network. A good line of defense in this instance is traffic mangling.

        Traffic mangling requires an inline box

    • Why mark this redundant? I didn't know what a honeypot was . . To be fair, I was kinda getting the idea from the context of the other posts, but the definition still helps.
  • Nice... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Nice article.

    What with the rumours that Mckinnon was caught by a US Military Honeypot it's interesting to read what can be done with sych systems.

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @02:43PM (#15812407) Homepage Journal
    Just put on unpatched Win 98 box naked on the Internet and a wait. You will soon have a hard drive full of porn and warze.

    Actually it sounds like fun. Throw up VMWare and a few images and you could make an enter virtual network for a hacker to go nuts over.
    Add in a PDP-11 Emulator, some hacked NASA and Air Force sites, a fake database or two, some Word documents showing that the US has a secert base in the middle of the everglades.....
    could be fun.
    Sounds like a great Hacker DnD game. Get a bunch of people to set up these things and the game is too find out what the is going on. :)
    • Thou shall not use an programming language that works on only one OS.

      Thou shall not program computers in any language until having mastered the one you speak and write in.

      • Thanks I missed that typo.
      • I'm just curious as the the grammatical rule that makes it "an programming language". I thought you use "an" when the following word begins with a vowel or a silent "h" as in "an hour". Could you point me to the rule that makes "an programming language" preferable to "a programming language".
        • You do, which is why the poster has corrected their sig to say 'a' instead of 'an'. You (as I) didn't see the reply pointing out the 'an' until it was fixed, making it look as if the reply suggested using 'an' instead of 'a', but a lil extra thought makes it obvious that it was the other way round.

      • by Joe U ( 443617 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:19PM (#15812894) Homepage Journal
        And if he corrects it to read:

        "Thou shall not use any programming language that works on only one OS. "

        Then it's a typographical error, most likely a soft-broken 'Y' key, and the joke falls apart. Making fun of someone with a broken keyboard is just mean. He might be on his way to CompUSA right now for all you know.

        Now, if he corrects it to read:

        "Thou shall not use a programming language that works on only one OS. "

        Then it's grammatical, and the joke will hold up. The world will be safe from poor grammar. You will have fulfilled your destiny. Crush the lesser races, conquer the galaxy, unimaginable power, unlimited rice pudding...Etcetera, etcetera...

        (or not)
      • Thou shall not program computers in any language until having mastered the one you speak and write in.

        I take this to mean you do not program computers in any language? After all, you have not mastered English either. You left a dangling preposition. The correct way to phrase this is:

        Thou shalt not program computers in any language until having mastered the one in which you speak and write.

        • by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @10:27PM (#15814560)
          That reminds me of a joke I heard years ago:

          A new Harvard freshman was lost and looking for the library. He approached what obviously was an upperclassman, and asked "Excuse me, could you please tell me where the library is at?" The upperclassman looked down his nose at the freshman, and replied, "My good sir, here at Harvard we do *not* end our sentences with a preposition." The freshman is a bit taken aback, and rephrases his question: "Okay, could you please tell me where the library is at, asshole?"

          There aren't too many grammar jokes out there, so I guess you have to take them as you can get them.
        • wow. just, wow. i'm literally deafened by the incredible WHOOSHING sound occurring in this thread.
      • //Thou shall not use an programming language that works on only one OS. /Thou shall not program computers in any language until having mastered the one you speak and write in. . . .having mastered the one in whichyou speak and write.
    • A place, I once worked at, had a dozen or so entirely unpatched Win98 boxes connected directly to the net - for years. And guess what? Of course I wouldn't have trusted those boxes one inch, but I've never heard of any hacking troubles with those boxes, either (ok, neither IE nor Outlook were used on those computers, but other than that, no protection at all).

      Yes, Win98 may be seriously vulnerable in hundreds of ways (even though it has hardly any networking functionality), but it just isn't targetted now

      • by Clovert Agent ( 87154 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:05PM (#15812830)
        A place, I once worked at, had a dozen or so entirely unpatched Win98 boxes connected directly to the net - for years.

        I seriously doubt it - not if you mean "in the last several years". Any unprotected box hanging directly off the net will be scanned and fingerprinted within minutes if not seconds of connecting, and exploited automatically. Botnets aren't kiddies' toys anymore: they're very professionally run and your unpatched '98 box is just grist for the mill.

        About five years ago I timed scans off a dialup connection in, let's say, a hostile part of the world - average of around 20 seconds from connect to scan. It hasn't gotten any better since.

        • That is a load of crap, though I admit it will probably depend on your IP range.

          I routinely check a few Class-Cs and it takes around 5 minutes for a scan to appear on our firewall logs. Mostly 1433 port these days, which Win98 will quite hapilly drop.

          After about 30 minutes I *might* get a port 139 scan, which many Win98 installations will *still* drop.

          Cut the crap and the Microsoft bashing, I'm much more concerned about the spate of port 22 scans, and the brute force ssh password attacks going on right now.
          • Cut the crap and the Microsoft bashing, I'm much more concerned about the spate of port 22 scans, and the brute force ssh password attacks going on right now.

            Fail2ban [] is your friend. Throttle those ssh botnets down to a few login attempts per hour and eventually the operator will go after a less secure target.
          • []

            Get this and your ssh brute force attack worries will be over. They're only popular because ssh tends not to block repeated attempts by default, and many other avenues have been closed to the crackers. So make sure you block this particular route.
          • It isn't a load of crap.

            Just this past weekend I had to switch providers, and of course verify the connection without a router or other firewall in between me and the outside world.

            Firewall software on the laptop picked up 139 attempts within the first 60 seconds. Within 5 minutes I had well over a dozen common ports being probed: the usual NetBIOS ports, 1433, 1434, 21, 80, 23, 69, and a few others.

            Didn't see a single port 22 attempt in the 5 hours I left the laptop "naked". Haven't bothered to check the r
        • I'll vouch for this. My firewall had exactly 1 open port. ssh. I created an unintentionally weak account when configuring samba and the system was pwned in less than 24 hours.
          • This is why i disabled root login and plain password login on the remote ssh virtual server which i own. now the only way to login to it is using a normal user account (with ssh key) and then do a su or sudo.

            They can try all the passwords they want but they simply won't be able to login. you could also change the port which SSH runs on and tar-pit any ip ranges which give you constant trouble (It's really fun to see bot's stay for hours on end trying to check a single login).
        • About five years ago I timed scans off a dialup connection in, let's say, a hostile part of the world - average of around 20 seconds from connect to scan. It hasn't gotten any better since.

          Surely, someone must have made tools to beat 20 seconds - I mean, it's gone five years.
        • I can vouch for this. A while ago I hooked a box running snort up to a residential cable connection as a databases class project. It logged attacks perpetrated against it, ran whois queries on offending IP's, categorized attackers and attack density by country, etc. You'd be amazed how frequently attacks and scans were perpetrated. Heck, 2 of the first 10 attacks on our server came from IP's owned by the US Department of the Interior :-p I don't want to slashdot the server (residential cable is pretty
      • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:32PM (#15813521) Journal
        I used to have a lab with a DSL like and a couple of quasi-honeypot machines on it. The Win95 (or was it Win98?) machine was never bothered; the RedHat 6 machine kept getting brutally attacked every week so after a few rebuilds I named it "kenny". Now, the Windows machine was partly not bothered because it wasn't doing anything interesting enough to be very vulnerable - there wasn't a web or FTP server, it wasn't sharing any disks or printers, I usually used Netscape browsers instead of IE, and if you did break in all you'd get for your trouble was a Windows machine. I had another Linux box on the network that was always running a scrolling tcpdump (AFAIK nobody ever bothered it - I had fewer services installed on it because it only had 500MB disk), and could see a variety of interesting traffic.
        • One week I saw it sending lots of pings to a university in Sweden. I checked with the admin there, who said it looked like my machine had been infected with Stacheldraht DDOS client and was reporting back to an infected machine at his site, and told me how to clean it up.
        • Another week the pings were to Washington University in St. Louis. I forget whether their machine had attacked mine or mine had attacked theirs, but either way it seemed appropriate since they'd probably used wuftpd to break in to my machine. Cleaned it up again.
        • Another week I did a "find" looking for something under root's home directory, and found a whole ~/.something directory I didn't recognize. I did an "ls", which couldn't find that directory - they'd replaced /bin/ls, but forgot to update the date stamp on the file, and also forgot to update the date stamp on /bin/ps. "ps" was hacked to not report the processes they were running from their hidden ~/.whatever directory - but "ls" wasn't hacked to hide things in /proc :-). So I cleaned up their semi-clever little rootkit.
        • After I cleaned up one of the latter two attacks, their next act was an "rm -rf /" on poor Kenny. Stupid thugs; at least they could have tried something interesting.
    • Actually, a lot of malware is already vmware-aware and avoids hosts running windows under vmware. More and more getting this functionality every day.
      • Actually, a lot of malware is already vmware-aware and avoids hosts running windows under vmware.
        If they can tell the difference, it means the emulation is not as good as it could be. In that case you probably should look for a better emulator.
        • If they can tell the difference, it means the emulation is not as good as it could be.

          No, the emulation is better than good if leaving signs like VM video card strings in place keeps the script kiddies away.
        • No, the emulation's fine, vmware was never designed to be undetectable, instead it was designed to provide a stable host-machine-hardware-independant machine... ie, if I installed Windows (known for not coping with motherboard/chipset changes well at all) in vmware on one machine, and move the virtual machine to another completely different set up machine, it will still run with no problems and no driver changes required. This is one of the things that makes vmware such a great tool.

          This means that you can
          • Even better, use Joanna Rutkowksa's Red Pill [] technique, which effectively identifies a VM in a single instruction based on the address of the IDTR.
            • I don't think this will work on hard virtual machines, such as new AMD/Intel processors that virtualise the privileged instructions on-chip with additional circuitry (as her 'blue pill' would indicate), but checking the hardware configuration still would (except in 'blue pill' type configurations where IOMMU's etc are used to fully simulate the external environment, but we're going off track a little here).

        • If your aim is to hide the fact you are running on a virtual machine, you are quite correct. VMware may not be the best choice.

          But calling for a "better emulator" because you are using a tool for a purpose outside of the one it was designed for is a bit rude. It's a bit like asking for a better spreadsheet than Excel because you are having trouble writing a book with it. Not quite the right tool for the job.

          VMware does a nice job of hosting a guest operating system inside another. They don't try to hide the
      • Well if malware refuses to run on vmware guests, then that's good for me - because I run a fair number of servers as vmware guests, including my firewall.

        BTW: is it copyright infringement if you redistribute a hacker's tools without his permission? Could the hacker use the DMCA as well?
    • Just one problem - (Score:4, Insightful)

      by njdj ( 458173 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:16PM (#15812877)

      a fake database or two, some Word documents showing that the US has a secert base in the middle of the everglades....

      You'll then get pulled in by Homeland Security and shipped to Gitmo for revealing that the US has a secret base in the middle of the Everglades.

      • Maybe you could point out one example of someone (a U.S. citizen) being shipped to a U.S. run prison on foreign soil? Not to be a troll, but wtf!? You know, I really can't stand G.W. and to be honest, I think Huessane(sp) should have had a bullet through his head back in the late 70's, or the very least in the early 90's.

        I'm just sick of seeing crap like this everywhere I turn... Yeah, you hate Bush, you feel cheated, you think the war is all about the oil.. whatever. The fact is that half the crap th
        • by Dion ( 10186 )
          At least I can say one good thing about G.W. Bush... you know where he stands on things, because he doesn't change his answers, speaches, or actions...

          Dude, there are two things wrong with this:

          • It's perfectly fine to change your mind when new data comes to light, holding on to a belief against evidence is stupidity.
          • Bush does change his standpoint from time to time, just look at the whole "Let's ignore Bin laden" to "war on terr".

          Really, Bush and his handlers have run your country into the ground, d

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:31PM (#15812946)
      I'm surprised a /.'er would recommend VMware, with XEN the clear winner in the honeypot niche. Just check out The Potemkin Honeyfarm [] for more info... These guys are actually able to deploy an image is less than a second and do all sorts of whacky business to delude hackers into believing they're roaming the internet freely :-)
    • Sure, there are worse places to get warez, but the type of people who crack into a site to get a place to store warez are _not_ the types of sources you'd want to trust.
    • computer RPG to a whole new.. umm. "level"...

      But, I like the part about a secret base in the Everglades.

      What would be cool is faking a database of chupacabra-human mutagenics data claiming the efficacy of a new breed of supersoldier.
      • Well the secret base in the Everglades is because of a one of the greatest wastes of tax money in the history of Florida.
        In the late 60s everyone thought SSTs where going to be the next big thing. So they started to build a replacment of the Miami air port 50 miles west of Miami out in the Everglades... Well the EPA came and stopped it but not before a HUGE runway, control tower, and many parts of the terminal where built.
        Airlines used to use it for practice since it is a huge modern airport in the middle o
  • NASA (Score:4, Funny)

    by wootest ( 694923 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:05PM (#15812510)
    Host NASA servers []? :)
  • by Per Wigren ( 5315 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:13PM (#15812558) Homepage
    Something funnier (IMHO) would be to write a simple wrapper over the shell which gives crazy error messages and other things:
    root@honeypot:~# whoami
    I have no idea.
    root@honeypot:~# ls
    and so on... :)
  • by dubbreak ( 623656 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:13PM (#15812561)
    Most people use their honey pots for surfing the web, checking email and sometimes playing games.
  • Heh. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:28PM (#15812636) Homepage
    Give them a virus that you wrote. Put a bunch of what appear to be self-extracting zip files in a directory and attach a virus to the extractor. Give them fun names, too. Like Montauk Project, Philadelphia Experiment, Roswell, etc.
    • what makes you think they would run your SFX zip files? AFAIK every archive app can unpack SFX files as well as regular compressed files
    • Re:Heh. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jeremi ( 14640 )
      Give them a virus that you wrote.

      On that note, has anyone done any security audits of the popular remote-exploit tools? It would be fun to write a "special" version of wu-ftpd 1.0 (or whatever) that recognizes when a particular tool is trying to exploit it, and responds by taking advantage of a bug in that tool to give you a root shell on the attacker's machine.... ;^)

  • Risk to others (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:30PM (#15812649)
    What if someone uses the trojans, etc. they install on your honeypot to launch an attack on some other site? Since your express purpose is to watch what they do, you can't claim ignorance.

    Are you liable for any damages?
    Are you causing problems for law enforcement or other sysadmins by helping the attacker obscure their identity?

    Seems like you would need to filter outbound traffic VERY carefully. It would be almost impossible to do this without the attacker knowing -- they'd realize it was a honeypot and get the hell out of there.
    • What if someone uses the trojans, etc. they install on your honeypot to launch an attack on some other site?

      I'd say that a proper honeypot would simulate the other site as well. Once you've taken the blue pill, there's no escape... ;^)

  • pr0n (Score:4, Funny)

    by Khashishi ( 775369 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:48PM (#15813046) Journal
    Just fill the honeypot with pr0n and there will be plenty for the hacker to play with.
  • now a honey cluster

    or a hive?

    this has endless potential

    I feel a little ashamed now

    • "now a honey cluster"

      Not exactly, the model is based on a Bee.o.wolf cluster

      "'or a hive?"

      Yes the hive organization is like that of Bee.ORG

      "this has endless potential"

      POT! Ok, this explains everything :)

      "I feel a little ashamed now"

      Really, yea you should, but then I guess so should I.
      "Oh Papa I am so 'shamed" ... place this one :)


  • Make sure that everything rlogs to an append-only hardened blackbox with a high securelevel. Preferably obsd. Also, make sure you have banners that will hold up in court. A honeypot is not something to be viewed as 'extra work' for a network administrator, but ESSENTIAL when combined with a few IDS sensors. It is the way to keep on top of your overall network security, and gives you a few extra IP blocks to add to your overall firewall ruleset. If you are really lucky, you will bring down some asshat that t
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:23PM (#15813200) Homepage
    • Call up a venture capitalist friend and ask for some rejected business plans for really stupid business ideas. Put them on your honeypot.
    • Get some publicly available geophysical data for real oil wells, and change all the locations to somewhere else with comparable geology but no oil.
    • Get some rejected porno images from people in the industry. Buy the reproduction rights. Put Digimarc watermarks on them. Wait for them to reappear elsewhere. Sue. Profit.
  • Bad advice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:24PM (#15813204)
    from the aericle:

    Simulated traffic can be used in conjunction with simulated targets....If you want to really see what the attacker is all about, simulate traffic that looks like someone trading MP3s, or traffic that looks like someone transferring business documents. If the attacker spends most of his time looking at the MP3 traffic, he is probably pretty harmless. If he spends his time looking at the documents, he is probably pretty dangerous.

    Yea, right. Great advice, right up to the day that the RIAA and their FBI thugs come breaking down your door and taking every computer that you own and anything else they want too, because the hacker that broke into your system and saw all that traffice was an RIAA hacker.

    • The key word there was simulate. I'm sure if you really had the time to devise a system like that, you'd find legal mp3z and faked or otherwise declassified business documents. Ha.
  • by umbrellasd ( 876984 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:45PM (#15813293)
    "Fun Things To Do With Your Honeypot System"

    non-Geek: "Is this a sexual reference? I don't get it...are they talking about that weird cyber thing?"

  • "From The Article" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonabbey ( 2498 ) * <> on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:50PM (#15813314) Homepage
    Zonk, is it necessary to edit down what your submitters give you and take half of the post to include part of the referenced article?
  • Too bad you can't trace the hackers back to the source and order a hit squad on them ... well, maybe in Russia.
  • by JustJake ( 130239 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @08:59PM (#15814168)
    until someone uses your honeypot as a platform to attack someone else. Or were you thinking that bad guys never use machines under their control in this manner?

    Who are these security people with so much free time that they can monitor a honeynet for hours on end and create bogus traffic to move across it in order to entertain a bored 16-year-old hacker from who knows where? Every serious professional I know is up to his eyeballs in real work.
  • In Soviet Russia, Honeypots hack YOU.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.