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13th USENIX Security Symposium — Abstract

Pp. 1–14 of the Proceedings

A Virtual Honeypot Framework

Niels Provos, Google, Inc.


A honeypot is a closely monitored network decoy serving several purposes: it can distract adversaries from more valuable machines on a network, provide early warning about new attack and exploitation trends, or allow in-depth examination of adversaries during and after exploitation of a honeypot. Deploying a physical honeypot is often time intensive and expensive as different operating systems require specialized hardware and every honeypot requires its own physical system. This paper presents Honeyd, a framework for virtual honeypots that simulates virtual computer systems at the network level. The simulated computer systems appear to run on unallocated network addresses. To deceive network fingerprinting tools, Honeyd simulates the networking stack of different operating systems and can provide arbitrary routing topologies and services for an arbitrary number of virtual systems. This paper discusses Honeyd's design and shows how the Honeyd framework helps in many areas of system security, e.g. detecting and disabling worms, distracting adversaries, or preventing the spread of spam email.
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