An Attacker-Defender Game for Honeynets


Cai, JY., Yegneswaran, V., Alfeld, C., Barford, P. (2009). An Attacker-Defender Game for Honeynets. In: Ngo, H.Q. (eds) Computing and Combinatorics. COCOON 2009. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 5609. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.


A honeynet is a portion of routed but otherwise unused address space that is instrumented for network traffic monitoring. It is an invaluable tool for understanding unwanted Internet traffic and malicious attacks. We formalize the problem of defending honeynets from systematic mapping (a serious threat to their viability) as a simple two-person game. The objective of the Attacker is to identify a honeynet with a minimum number of probes. The objective of the Defender is to maintain a honeynet for as long as possible before moving it to a new location within a larger address space. Using this game theoretic framework, we describe and prove optimal or near-optimal strategies for both Attacker and Defender. This is the first mathematically rigorous study of this increasingly important problem on honeynet defense. Our theoretical ideas provide the first formalism of the honeynet monitoring problem, illustrate the viability of network address shuffling, and inform the design of next generation honeynet defense.

Keywords: Binary Search, Query Point, Address Space, Binary Search Tree, Game Theoretic Framework

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