Risk
10/29/2009
03:53 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

New Honeypot Mimics The Web Vulnerabilities Attackers Want To Exploit

New open-source Honeynet Project tool toys with attackers by dynamically emulating apps with the types of bugs they're looking for

A next-generation Web server honeypot project is under way that poses as Web servers with thousands of vulnerabilities in order to gather firsthand data from real attacks targeting Websites.

Unlike other Web honeypots, the new open-source Glastopf tool dynamically emulates vulnerabilities attackers are looking for, so it's more realistic and can gather more detailed attack information, according to its developers. "Many attackers are checking the vulnerability of the application before they inject malicious code. My project is the first Web application honeypot with a working vulnerability emulator able to respond properly to attacker requests," says Lukas Rist, who created Glastopf.

Rist, a student, built Glastopf through the Google Summer of Code (Gsoc) 2009 program, where student developers write code for open-source projects. His Web honeypot was one of the Honeynet Project's Gsoc projects.

Unlike other Web honeypots that use templates posing as real Web apps, Glastopf basically adapts to the attack and can automatically detect and allow an unknown attack. Glastopf uses a combination of known signatures of vulnerabilities and also records the keywords an attacker uses when visiting the honeypot to ensure it gets indexed in search engines, which attackers often use to find new targets. The project uses a central database to gather the Web attack data from the Glastopf honeypot sensors installed by participants who want to share their data with the database.

"The project will contribute real-world data and statistics about attacks against Web apps -- an area where we do not have good collection tools yet," says Thorsten Holz, Rist's mentor on the project.

Holz says Glastopf fakes out an attacker by returning "content that is commonly found on vulnerable versions of Web apps, such as characteristic version numbers or similar information."

"A very neat feature [of the honeypot] is its ability to attract more attackers through adaptation of its exposed vulnerabilities based on what attackers are searching for," says Christian Seifert, chief communications officer for the Honeynet Project.

Aside from researchers, ISPs and Web hosting companies could use Glastopf to collect data about ongoing attacks, Holtz says. "They can, for example, find compromised servers in their space that host PHP bots, or other data related to remote file inclusion vulnerabilities," he says.

Glastopf creator Rist says he's working with ISPs in Germany and France, as well as universities in Germany and an anti-abuse team in the Netherlands, on the project. The organizations hope to use the honeypot data to generate abuse tickets, shut down servers that are hosting malware, and to track the bad guys, Rist says. "We are planning to set up a publicly accessible Web interface to your central database to illustrate the impact of Web-based attacks against Web applications," he says.

Holz says the honeypot data should yield some interesting analysis of PHP-based botnets, as well as different attack techniques out there against Web applications and the volume of these attacks. "We are still in the beginning of analyzing this data," he says.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading, September 16, 2014
Malicious software is morphing to be more targeted, stealthy, and destructive. Are you prepared to stop it?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-5316
Published: 2014-09-21
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Dotclear before 2.6.4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted page.

CVE-2014-5320
Published: 2014-09-21
The Bump application for Android does not properly handle implicit intents, which allows attackers to obtain sensitive owner-name information via a crafted application.

CVE-2014-5321
Published: 2014-09-21
FileMaker Pro before 13 and Pro Advanced before 13 does not verify X.509 certificates from SSL servers, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof servers and obtain sensitive information via a crafted certificate. NOTE: this vulnerability exists because of an incorrect fix for CVE-2013-2319...

CVE-2014-5322
Published: 2014-09-21
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Instant Web Publish function in FileMaker Pro before 13 and Pro Advanced before 13 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified vectors. NOTE: this vulnerability exists because of an incorrect fix for CVE-2013-3640.

CVE-2014-6602
Published: 2014-09-21
Microsoft Asha OS on the Microsoft Mobile Nokia Asha 501 phone 14.0.4 allows physically proximate attackers to bypass the lock-screen protection mechanism, and read or modify contact information or dial arbitrary telephone numbers, by tapping the SOS Option and then tapping the Green Call Option.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio