What is Honeypot in Cybersecurity? Definition and Types

Written By Sambita Panigrahy  
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh 
Published On October 30th, 2023
Reading Time 7 Minutes Reading

A virtual trap is set up as part of a security technique called a honeypot to lure intruders. Attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in a computer system that has been deliberately infiltrated, giving you the opportunity to identify them and bolster your security measures. Software, networks, file servers, routers, and other computational resources can all be utilized as honeypots.

Definition of Honeypot

A sort of deception technology that enables you to comprehend the behavior patterns of attackers is called a honeypot. In order to gather information about how hackers operate, security teams might employ honeypots to investigate cybersecurity breaches. When compared to conventional cybersecurity measures, they also lower the chance of false positives because they are less likely to draw legitimate activity.

The design and deployment methods of honeypots differ, but they are always ruses meant to imitate trustworthy, exposed systems in order to lure hackers.


[Image Source: Tech Target]

Types of Honeypot Deployments

Threat actors can engage in various degrees of malicious conduct using one of three types of honeypot deployments:

  • Pure honeypots are fully functional production systems that track attacks by listening in on the network link that the honeypot is connected to. They are simple in their ways.
  • Low-interaction honeypots copy popularly used services and systems to draw criminal attention. They provide a technique for gathering information from blind attacks like malware infections and botnets.
  • High-interaction honeypots have intricate configurations that mimic the behavior of actual production infrastructure. They offer in-depth cybersecurity insights while not limiting a cybercriminal’s level of activity. To ensure that attackers cannot access the actual system, they demand more maintenance, knowledge, and the usage of extra technologies like virtual machines.

How Does Honeypot Work?

A honeypot resembles a real computer system in many ways. It has the tools and information that cybercriminals use to choose the best targets. For instance, a honeypot could impersonate a system that holds private consumer data, including credit card or personal identification numbers. Decoy data can be introduced into the system to lure in potential attackers wanting to steal, use, or sell it. 

Also, the IT staff may see the attacker enter the honeypot and follow their steps, noting the different approaches they use and how well or poorly the system’s protections work. The network’s overall defenses can then be strengthened using this information.

Security flaws are exploited by honeypots to draw in attackers. They can have open ports that are susceptible to a port scan, a method of discovering which open ports are on a network. An attacker might be lured by a port that has been left open, allowing the security team to watch how they plan their attack.

In contrast to other security precautions, honey potting is not intended to proactively thwart assaults. An organization’s intrusion detection system (IDS) and threat response should be improved with the use of a honeypot in order to improve management and assault prevention.

Honeypots can be divided into two categories: production and research. Production honeypots are designed to detect internal network intrusions and deceive any malicious actors. Production honeypots are placed next to your actual production servers and use the same services as those servers.

On the other hand, research honeypots gather data about attacks, concentrating not only on how threats behave inside your own environment but also on how they function in the larger world. By gathering threat intelligence in this way, administrators may improve protection systems and decide which updates to prioritize. In order to fight against attacks that were drawn in by the honeypot’s lures, they can then make sure that sensitive systems have the most recent security measures in place.

Benefits of Using Honeypot

Finding flaws in crucial systems is a great idea when using honeypots. For instance, a honeypot can show the real threat that attacks IoT devices represent. Additionally, it could offer suggestions for ways to strengthen security.

There are several advantages to comparing a honeypot to a genuine system while looking for intrusions. Any action that is logged is almost probably a probe or intrusion attempt, as a honeypot, for example, should never receive real traffic.

The use of similar IP addresses (or IP addresses that are all from the same country) to conduct network sweeps is one example of a trend that is much easier to spot as a result. Such warning signs of an assault, however, are simple to miss in the din while you are concentrating on massive volumes of legitimate traffic on your core network. The key advantage of using honeypot security is the possibility of just seeing these malicious addresses, which makes identifying an attack much simpler.

Due to the low volume of traffic they handle, honeypots are also resource-light. You can set up a honeypot using old PCs that you no longer use because they don’t put a lot of demands on the hardware. The availability of pre-written honeypots from online software repositories considerably reduces the amount of internal labor necessary to set up a honeypot.

Difference Between Honeypots and Traditional Detection Systems

Honeypots often have low false positive rates. Compared to traditional intrusion-detection systems (IDS), which have the propensity to raise a lot of false alarms, this is a positive. This helps with effort prioritization once more and lowers resource demand from a honeypot. (In reality, by utilizing the information collected by honeypots and comparing it with other system and firewall logs, the IDS can be configured with more meaningful warnings, resulting in fewer false positives. Therefore, honeypots can help improve and improve other cybersecurity systems.)

Regarding how security threats are evolving, honeypots can provide reliable information. In the case of email traps, they transmit information on spammers, phishing schemes, and attack vectors in addition to malware, exploits, and malware. A cyber honeypot assists in spotting recently discovered threats and intrusions. Hackers are constantly refining their intrusion techniques. Effective use of honeypots also helps to remove blind spots.

In addition, for technical security experts, honeypots provide fantastic training tools. A honeypot is secure, monitored setting used to research various threats and show how attackers function. Security staff may completely focus on the threat using a honeypot instead of being distracted by real network activity.

Cybercriminals these days are becoming advanced, so security professionals have to come up with new cybersecurity techniques to combat cyberattacks. If you are ready to take the next step then contact our cyber experts for managed cybersecurity services.


Q- What is a honeypot?

A honeypot is a type of security technique or resource. It is used to attract and detect unauthorized access or malicious activity on a computer network or system. It serves as a ruse to attract possible assailants.

Q- Why honeypot is used?

Information gathering about possible dangers and attackers is a honeypot’s main objective. In order for organizations to properly defend against them, it helps to understand their strategies, methods, and motives.

Q- What are the different types of honeypots?

Generally speaking, honeypots come in three varieties:

  • Low-Interaction Honeypots: These have little to no interaction with possible attackers and merely mimic the most basic services.
  • Medium-engagement Honeypots: They simulate certain services more accurately and offer a moderate degree of engagement.
  • High-Interaction Honeypots: These are realistic, fully functional systems that can be dangerous to set up but yield the most precise attack data.

Q- Do honeypots serve only as detecting tools?

Honeypots can be used for monitoring, analysis, and research on cyber risks and attackers, but detection is one of its main functions. In order to divert attackers’ attention from more important systems, some organizations even employ trickery with them.

Q- Can a honeypot be installed in a production environment without risk?

Usually, honeypots are set up in remote locations apart from operational systems. It can be dangerous to deploy them in a production setting since they might draw in actual attackers. Low-interaction honeypots can be used in production settings, but organizations should take caution when using them.

Q- In what ways might honeypots enhance cybersecurity?

Organizations can benefit from honeypots:

  • Determine and evaluate fresh and changing risks.
  • Assemble information about the tactics and attacks.
  • Boost forensic and incident response capacities.
  • Assess and test security measures.
  • Attackers should be diverted and delayed to safeguard vital systems.