Cyber deception technology offers defenders a rare opportunity to shift the balance of power. Using a minefield of attractive decoy systems and fake credentials, it distracts and traps attackers that have penetrated an organization’s network. Time is critical in cybersecurity, and interacting with a decoy can waste an adversary’s time and misdirect them from valuable assets. Participants emphasized the importance of performing a needs analysis and understanding how cyber deception fits into an organization’s defense procedures.
Deploying traps that mimic real-world systems and technologies throughout the network infrastructure is how deception technology works. These traps run in either a virtual or real operating system environment and alert security staff when a cybercriminal has been detected, often before they can cause any significant damage. The information these traps capture is delivered to security operations center (SOC) teams, incident response staff, and threat hunters who can identify the attacker and their tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Once a cybercriminal has been detected, it’s crucial to take steps to prevent them from escalating their privileges and stealing information. It can be easier to do with visibility into the attacker’s movements. Cyber deception technology can detect an attacker’s presence using decoys that simple activities like network probes, open ports, or stolen credentials can trigger. Once triggered, the temptations will record attack activity and send it to a centralized server for analysis and alerting.
A cyber deception program should deliver this threat intelligence in an easy-to-use format that integrates with existing security tools. This way, the team can focus on the most severe threats and avoid becoming overwhelmed with false positives that lead to alert fatigue. It also helps to eliminate reliance on generic threat intel feeds that may not be relevant to the network and its specific attack vectors.
While the best strategy for preventing attacks is to avoid them before they happen, most organizations can’t stop every cyberattack. Therefore, it’s crucial to have an incident response strategy to identify and address risks when they materialize rapidly. Deception technology can help reduce alert noise and provide high-quality threat intelligence. Unlike point security products that use behavior analysis to flag anomalies from a baseline (prone to false positives), deception technologies create and deploy fake assets, credentials, data, and traps. Cyber deception can also stop the attack by engaging attackers and keeping them occupied while collecting threat intel.
When deployed as part of an effective defense-in-depth security strategy, deception technology reduces time to detection. It improves key security metrics like the mean time to detect and the mean time to incident resolution. It can also help prevent a data breach from becoming a ransomware attack with data exfiltration, which can be more costly than the actual breach itself. Deception technology can be used in the cloud, on network devices, and in specialized environments like IoT, POS, ICS, SWIFT, and telecommunications systems. Moreover, deception solutions can also be integrated with existing security tools to provide new visibility into internal networks and share the information gathered by attackers in real time.
Reducing Alert Fatigue
Cyber deception technology can be a valuable addition to a cybersecurity suite. It can detect threats in progress without compromising real systems and send high-quality alerts, giving security teams the ability to respond quickly to incidents. It can also help reduce the false positives that traditional anomaly detection, intrusion detection/prevention systems produce by assuming that the system is being breached and only sending alerts for actual threats. Deception technologies rely on a combination of decoys and traps that mimic the behavior of natural systems. It is important because most attackers move laterally within an organization, naturally trying to steal data and gain access to systems. These attacks often involve dropping backdoors or malware that can be used to exfiltrate data. When an attacker interacts with a decoy, it wastes their time and gives defenders more time to shut them down or block their attacks. Deception technologies need to scale and provide the ability to manage thousands of deceptive assets from a single centralized management console. Additionally, they must be able to lure attackers, engage them, keep them occupied and misdirect them so that real production environments are not exposed. It can be achieved through various tactics, including placing lures on endpoints, at the network or application layer and in stored data.
Collecting Threat Intelligence
While the ultimate goal of any cybersecurity solution is to prevent threats from gaining entry into a network, only some attacks can be prevented. A good cybersecurity strategy should also include rapid detection of incidents to limit data loss and minimize damage. Cyber deception technology creates fake assets (data of value to an attacker, such as databases, credentials, servers, files, or even entire networks). It places them within the real network in ways that make it impossible for a human to tell them apart. When an adversary interacts with a fake asset, the system raises a silent alarm, collects attacker behavior and attack data, and sends it back to a security operations center or threat-hunting team.
Deception technology, therefore, reduces the time it takes to notice an event by offering high-quality warnings that may be utilized to find the attacker and quickly respond to their activity. It can help improve key security metrics such as MTTR and MTTFR. The best way to get the most out of your cyber deception deployment is to ensure that it is a part of your defense-in-depth security strategy. It means deploying deception across the entire network at scale and ensuring that it can be managed from a single console with minimal impact on performance.