‘Red Her­ring’ vs Heart­bleed

SP's MAI - - INTERNAL SECURITY -

US cy­ber­se­cu­rity re­searchers have de­vel­oped a tech­nique that fights the Heart­bleed virus, and de­tects and en­traps hack­ers who might be us­ing it to steal sen­si­tive data.

The Heart­bleed bug, which be­came pub­lic last week, has set alarm bells ring­ing across the globe, in­clud­ing In­dia, for fear of ex­pos­ing mil­lions of pass­words, credit card num­bers and other sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion to hack­ers.

Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Texas at Dal­las cre­ated the so­phis­ti­cated tech­nique, dubbed ‘Red Her­ring’, which au­to­mates the process of cre­at­ing de­coy servers, mak­ing hack­ers be­lieve they have gained ac­cess to con­fi­den­tial, se­cure in­for­ma­tion, when in fact their deeds are be­ing mon­i­tored, an­a­lysed and traced back to the source.

“Our au­to­mated hon­ey­pot cre­ates a fixed web server that looks and acts ex­actly like the orig­i­nal—but it’s a trap,” said Dr Kevin Hamlen, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of com­puter sci­ence in the Erik Jon­s­son School of Com­puter Sci­ence and En­gi­neer­ing, who led the team which cre­ated the tech­nique.

“The at­tack­ers think they are win­ning, but Red Her­ring ba­si­cally keeps them on the hook longer so the server owner can track them and their ac­tiv­i­ties. This is a way to dis­cover what these ne­far­i­ous in­di­vid­u­als are try­ing to do, in­stead of just block­ing what they are do­ing,” said Hamlen, a mem­ber of the UT Dal­las Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Re­search and Ed­u­ca­tion In­sti­tute (CSI).

The Heart­bleed bug af­fects about twothirds of web­sites pre­vi­ously be­lieved to be se­cure. These are web­sites that use the com­puter code li­brary called Open SSL to en­crypt sup­pos­edly se­cure In­ter­net con­nec­tions that are used for sen­si­tive pur­poses such as on­line bank­ing and pur­chas­ing, send­ing and re­ceiv­ing e-mails, and re­motely ac­cess­ing work net­works.

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