Feeds

Give hackers your data, says former RSA man

Just don't make it real data: feeding them fakes should see them off

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Former RSA chief scientist Ari Juels has outlined a cunning way to foil crackers: let them think they've busted into a system and then give them fake data to play with.

The idea is not entirely novel because Juels last year proposed a scheme he called “Honeywords” in this paper, co-authored with RSA founder Ronald Rivest. Honeywords is a kind of “security by obscurity”, but in a good way: instead of an attacker stealing a table that has one password per user, the password table has the real password as well as a bunch of fakes – the “honeywords” – for each user.

As well as putting a potential fog of confusion in front of an attacker, a system could be setup to raise an alarm on attempts to log in using the honeywords, because that's a reliable indicator that the password table has been accessed.

Juels' new “Honey Encryption” proposal, with co-developer Thomas Ristenpart of the University of Wisconsin, takes this idea a step further, be refining a systems' response to unauthorised access attempts: instead of a login failure, the attacker would be served up fake data that resembles real data.

As MIT Review reports, even if an attacker eventually hits upon the right user ID / password combination, “the real data should be lost amongst the crowd of spoof data.”

For example, ten thousand attempts to get a credit card number would yield ten thousand fake-but-plausible numbers, leaving the attacker with the job of testing the validity of each number. Even better: if an attacker was trying to access a system's password store, each attempt failed at a master password would yield fake data.

MIT Review says Juels is now working on the code for a fake password vault generator for use with the Honey Encryption scheme. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.