Analyzing the Clues
For analysis purposes, the admin disconnects the honeypot computer from the network and mounts the compromised hard disks on a separate machine. This step disables the rootkit because the system programs on the mounted disk are not used.
Some cautionary measures improve the results of the analysis. The logfiles recorded by the honeywall might not give a true representation of the sources the attacker used to upload software to the system. For this reason, it is a good idea to search for them on the honeypot itself. Additionally, the monitoring software might hide from the attacker on the honeypot, but if the attacker encrypts the network, some information is lost. This potential for the attacker to go underground makes it vital to trace the attacker's activities in order to initiate countermeasures as quickly as possible.
Manipulation of the filesystem on the compromised honeypot is evident. Forensic methods let the administrator restore deleted logfiles and malware programs, thus revealing how an attacker attempts to cover their traces on the machine and the changes to the filesystem. In this case, the web application vulnerability scanner logfiles finally reveal all the IP addresses the attacker attempted to target from the honeypot.
Proceed with Caution
Break-in studies that use honeypots are educational and can help prevent repeat attacks. However, honeypot operators could be breaking the law. Keep in mind that a honeypot has legal implications for the operator. Possible issues include aiding and abetting, data protection and liability for any damage caused by the honeypot.
Of course, make sure you tighten the honeynet to the best of your ability to avoid damage to any networks . Operating a honeypot is not something you should do lightly. In fact, you need to monitor the system constantly to stay ahead of your clandestine guests.
- Roo: https://projects.honeynet.org/honeywall
- Honeynet Project, "Roo CDROM User's Manual": http://yum.honeynet.org/roo/manual
- Snort Inline: http://snort-inline.sourceforge.net
- POF (p0f): http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/p0f.shtml
- Swatch: http://sourceforge.net/projects/swatch/
- Sebek: https://projects.honeynet.org/sebek/
- Current version of phpAds: http://sourceforge.net/projects/phpadsnew/
- Edward Balas and Camilo Viecco, "Towards a Third Generation Data Capture Architecture for Honeynets": http://old.honeynet.org/papers/individual/hflow.pdf
- PHP XML-RPC vulnerability: http://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CAN-2005-2498
- Ryan Talabis, "A Primer on Honeynet Data Control Requirements": http://www.philippinehoneynet.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=7&Itemid=29
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