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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Honeypot Policies

For honeypots to be effective, any organizations using them must have a clearly defined security policy. A security policy defines how an organization approaches, implements, and enforces security measures to mitigate the risk to its environment. A honeypot is a technical tool used to enforce that policy. If the policy is not clearly defined, then a honeypot cannot contribute much. For example, if a honeypot is used for detection, its value is to detect unauthorized activity, such as scans, probes, or attacks. Such a honeypot may detect an employee sequentially scanning every system within an organization's network for open file shares on fellow employee workstations. The honeypot is successful in that it detects the probes and alerts the security administrator. However, was this unauthorized activity? That depends on the company's security policy. Organizational policy is critical for a second reason: the legality of honeypots. Chapter 14 covers the legal issues involved with honeypot technologies. However, organizations must also determine if it is legal to use a honeypot. Can a honeypot record the activities of an employee, even if that employee is conducting unauthorized activity? The answer may sound simple, but if the security policy does not clearly define authorized monitoring activities, the legality of honeypots may become an issue. It is critical that security policies indicate what monitoring functionality, not monitoring technology is permitted. For example, a security policy may state that honeypots are authorized, but what exactly does that mean? An organization may allow honeypots to detect scans or probes, but does it allow research honey-pots that may capture keystrokes or the conversations of online chat sessions? These issues must be clearly defined before honeypots are deployed.

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