Security today. I’ve done some testing with a honey pot. What is a honey pot? It’s a (network) construction you make to lure in hack attempts and/or malware. You can use it for early detection of threats, analysing attacker behaviour, or drawing away attention from the real target.

There are several ways to set up a honey pot, depending on what you want. Inside an enterprise, you can set up a server that acts just like a real production device, but it’s not providing any real services and instead is logging every attack against it. Allocating an empty subnet, then logging everything that enters that subnet is also a good method: an empty subnet is supposed to be untouched, so anything entering it may be scanning for targets.

My method is similar to the ones above, except I don’t have a free subnet to allocate. But the NAT router I have has a DMZ option. In practice this does the following: any port or protocol that’s not in use by another device on the private subnet, will be forwarded to the IP defined in DMZ. Example: PC 2 is set in DMZ, internal IP 192.168.168.2. All other PCs use the NAT router to access internet. This means that if PC 2 makes a connection to a web server, source port 33502, destination port 80, the web server will reply from port 80 to port 33502 again. The NAT router then forwards port 33502 to PC 2 because it was opened by PC 2. But if something enters on port 33503 and that port has not been opened by an inside device, it will be forwarded to PC 1, who will then log it.

Honeypot

For logging I used a Windows XP with Wireshark. The Windows XP had static IP 192.168.168.2, correct subnetmask, but no gateway. Why? Because I want to do passive logging and the logging device should be unable to respond back, especially since it had no firewall and received everything unfiltered. On Wireshark I set up a filter to only capture unicast packets to its own static IP, filtering away background noise. The only problem is that my ISP blocks off any incoming port below 1024, meaning I will not see any connection attempts on most well-known ports, so I had no big expectations.

I kept it running all night, a total of 14 hours and 30 minutes. And the next day, Wireshark indeed reported several captured packets. Here’s what I found:

  • 50 hits for incoming destination UDP port 12148. Mostly IPs from Europe, some from North and South America, random source ports. I have no idea what this means, as port 12148 doesn’t have any registered service to it.
  • 65 hits for TCP SYN on destination port 12148. Again randomly throughout the night, random IPs and source ports. No recognizable pattern, and no relation to the UDP packets. Still, no idea.
  • 15 hits for destination UDP port 1030. Not officially registered, but it seems to be used as a loopback port for exchanging information between software components in Windows. All from the same IP – somewhere in Poland – but random throughout the night, sometimes with hours between. Not sure if this is indeed an attempt of some sort, or just a confused device somewhere in Poland.
  • 4 hits with source UDP port 53, DNS, to a random destination port. Three IPs, all from (anycast) DNS servers I don’t use. Message content is ‘format error’ or ‘server failure’. Probably not an attempt for something but consequence of some malconfigured device somewhere, I think.
  • 3 ping requests. Because of the missing gateway on my honey pot, no reply. All three occurred from different locations around the world and consisted of two pings with exactly 2.2 seconds between them. Strong indication the same tool is being used here, and likely an attempt to check if anything is alive on my IP.
  • 1 hit for UDP destination port 1434 – SQL. From China. That’s an attempt alright.

That’s 4 packets over 14 hours which are used to scan for weaknesses: 3 ping, 1 SQL. Not taking into account anything below 1024. Not much, but enough to prove the necessity for firewalling.

Extra information: to look up the geographical location of each IP, I used http://www.ipligence.com/geolocation

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