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(also canary tokens)

Honeytoken definition

Honeytokens are a clever security technique used to detect and monitor unauthorized access or attempted breaches in a system. This method involves deliberately creating decoy or fake information, like usernames, passwords, or sensitive documents, and intentionally exposing them to potential attackers. Honeytokens may seem genuine, but they are traps designed to raise alerts and provide insights into malicious activities.

Organizations strategically place honeytokens within their systems in areas where they are likely to attract the attention of an intruder, such as in a database or a network segment that appears to contain sensitive data. This can confuse attackers, potentially wasting their resources and time on the decoy data while deflecting their attention from the actual sensitive information. As a result, security teams get more time to detect and respond to the attack, reducing the potential damage.

Honeytokens serve as early warning signs of security breaches. They proactively detect and respond to security threats, enabling organizations to identify potential vulnerabilities, monitor insider threats, and track external attackers.

Honeytokens typically contain unique characteristics that set them apart from actual user data, making it easier to track their usage.

See also: sensitive information, data administration

Uses of honeytokens

  • To detect unauthorized access to systems or networks.
  • To identify the methods and techniques used by attackers.
  • To track the movements of attackers within a network.
  • To disrupt the activities of attackers.