Cyber deception is quickly taking hold as a crucial element of a proactive cyber defense strategy, frequently working with other aggressive techniques like threat hunting
Cyber deception technology has recently become a crucial defensive tool in the enterprise cybersecurity arsenal after playing a supporting role for decades.
“Cyber deception” refers to a broad range of strategies to trick attackers into interacting with fictitious digital resources not for authorized enterprise users. These decoys, which can be servers, services, networks, files, user accounts, and email accounts, only disseminate information about active attacks.
Decoy assets are positioned throughout the IT environment as part of cyber deception, which aims to divert malicious hackers from legitimate systems and applications. The following are some of what cyber fraud can achieve at its best:
- Use distractions to divert an attacker’s attention.
- With minimal false positives, alert incident responders to attackers’ presence in enterprise systems.
- Enabling security teams to observe and document the methods, techniques, and tactics used by attackers will strengthen threat intelligence.
However, it is easier said than done. Security leaders must take a deliberate and strategic approach to create a cybersecurity deception program that achieves the abovementioned benefits. Here are some techniques organizations can follow to implement the strategy.
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Obtain leadership support
Early attempts at cyber deception faced criticism for not directly advancing organizations’ missions. But, in some cases, wasting time and resources, cyber deception techniques and technologies have increased significantly since the days of crude honeypots.
It’s crucial to convey to executive leaders—CISOs, CIOs, and other C-level executives—that cyber deception is now an essential component of active defense and has the potential to generate sizable returns on investment. The chances that the cyber deception program will be successful increase with the level of leadership support.
Make the initial cyber-deception strategy
It’s simple to lose sight of operational and logistical limitations when thinking about cyber deception’s theoretically limitless potential. However, attempt to realistically assess available resources and start small rather than setting overly ambitious goals.
Before assessing the likelihood and potential severity of various attack scenarios, consider the organization’s vulnerabilities and list its most important assets. Give high-risk threats a higher priority if they are both likely and severe.
Then, to determine likely attack paths and techniques, consult resources like threat intelligence feeds, incident reports, and Mitre ATT&CK. This information should guide where and how teams deploy cyber deception resources to increase the likelihood of successfully intercepting threat actors. The cyber deception plan should include the program’s goals and objectives, potential threat actors, attacks and attack vectors, cyber deception tools and techniques, and measurement and monitoring strategies. Make sure to solicit input and support from management and technical staff as the plan develops.
Implement the cyber-deception strategy
It’s time to start operations after deploying, testing, and training staff on how to use the deception technology. Implementations of cyber deception require ongoing management, monitoring, and upkeep. Due to routine use, patching, and other operational activities, natural production systems undergo constant change. Resources for deception must fluctuate to be effective in persuading attackers. To have a backup record of events and important metrics, save monitoring data on a different, secure system and the deception technology.
Different deception methods
The best deception methods are those that combine several different kinds. Even for adversaries aware of the deception, variety complicates your security network. While tracking their information as they interact with the decoys generates more variables.
These security tools are currently leading the charge in online fraud:
A honeypot is a trap set up to catch attempts to access your data or unauthorized use of information systems. A honeypot is typically made up of data that, while appearing valuable to attackers, is isolated, monitored, and may even warn defenders of an attacker. Using a cyber deception honeypot as an illustration, defenders may set up a decoy server that appears to be vulnerable. Defenders can learn more about attackers’ strategies and tactics by tricking them into interacting with the honeypot, and they might even be able to stop attacks in their tracks.
A honeynet is a group of honeypots to divert attackers from sensitive information and systems.
Masking hides the legitimate assets or data the organization wants to protect. This method removes real data from the visible network without arousing suspicion, making it undetectable. Effective deception starts with removing real assets.
By imitating them, an attacker can use decoys that appear to be real in place of these hidden assets. By using deception, companies can conduct counter-surveillance on intruders that they want to stop from being drawn to the attack surface. The key to mimicry is to make fake assets seem like genuine network components.
Contrarily, the invention is a form of deception that produces completely new assets that do not exist. All they need to do is appear capable. Consider a group of new services. They must also be visually appealing enough to draw people away from actual entry points.
Repackaging makes real assets appear as irrelevant as possible while mimicking and inventing produce appealing decoys. Assets that are less effective at masking can repackage to conceal their real value, making them simple to ignore.
The least subtle deception method is dazzle, but it still has some effectiveness against weaker threats. It overwhelms attackers with much information, similar to an inverted brute force attack that they cannot distinguish between real and fake.
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The significance of cyber deception technology
Since cyber deception is a proactive rather than reactive tactic, it is the best defense possible. It makes it possible for enterprise security teams to outwit attackers.
Cyber deception technology has the following advantages:
Quicker threat detection and shorter attacker dwell time: Security teams can identify attackers in their environments more quickly and effectively by deploying and continuously monitoring decoy resources than is likely possible without them.
Deliver trustworthy alerts: Anyone using cyber deception resources is highly likely to be an attacker since they don’t support legitimate enterprise operations, setting off credible, reliable internal alarms. The technology used in cyber deception generates few false positive alerts.
Create precise attack metrics and data. Security teams can learn a great deal about attackers, their tactics, techniques, procedures, and which vulnerabilities and weaknesses they utilize by meticulously documenting all activity involving cyber deception resources. This level of detail is impossible to use across all IT resources.
Additionally, security experts can gather all this data while feigning ignorance of the intruders’ presence and preventing them from accessing legitimate resources, giving the organization a tactical advantage.
Cyber deception is quickly taking hold as a crucial element of a proactive cyber defense strategy, frequently working with other aggressive techniques like threat hunting. These methods are generally suitable today for businesses with more developed cyber capabilities. However, it appears likely that the cybersecurity industry will start to view cyber deception and threat hunting as more fundamental tasks that the average organization should at least partially perform in the upcoming years.
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