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E.U. cyber security agency launches study of digital attack traps

E.U. cyber security agency launches study of digital attack traps

The European Union's cyber security agency, the European Network and Information Security Agency, is launching an in-depth study of 30 different digital traps or “honeypots” that can be used by governmental and nongovernmental computer emergency response teams to proactively detect cyber attacks, says the agency.

In a statement issued last week, the agency said a growing number of complex cyber attacks demand better early warning detection capabilities for computer emergency response teams. “Honeypots are, simplified, traps with the sole task of luring in attackers by mimicking a real computer resource (e.g. a service, application, system, or data). Any entity connecting to a honeypot is deemed suspicious, and all activity is monitored to detect malicious activity," said ENISA in its statement.

ENISA said the new study presents practical deployment strategies and critical issues for these teams. ENISA executive director Udo Helmbrecht said in a statement: “Honeypots offer a powerful tool for (computer emergency response teams) to gather threat intelligence without any impact on the production infrastructure.

“Correctly deployed, honeypots offer considerable benefits for (computer emergency response teams') malicious activity in a (computer emergency response team's) constituency to provide early warning of malware infections, new exploits, vulnerabilities and malware behavior, as well as given an opportunity to learn about attacker tactics. Therefore, if the (computer emergency response teams) in Europe recognize honeypots better as a tasty option, they could better defend their constituencies' assets.”

Copies of the report are available here.

In October, ENISA said there were 51 significant cyber security incidents in 2011 reported by 11 countries that are members of the European Union, but that total is likely to increase tenfold next year because of improved reporting.

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