Start-up fights ambush attacks on SDN, virtual machine networks

GuardiCore developing "honeypot" approach to detecting and blocking stealthy attacks.

Start-up GuardiCore is working on a security product that works through a 'honeypot' approach to detect and block stealthy attacks on software-defined networks (SDN) and multi-vendor virtual-machine infrastructures for enterprise customers as well as cloud-service providers.

Network-based honeypots have been used over the years in many forms to detect attacks and malware through what is basically a decoy set up to fool attackers into thinking they are hitting a real production network but the decoy under attack is there to gain information about the attacker. GuardiCore's product, named Active Honeypot, is designed to monitor and respond to attacks in real time against SDN components, such as the newer programmable software-based switches and controllers, as well as the broader array of virtual-machine (VM) servers widely used in data centers. GuardiCore, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, today said its anticipated Active Honeypot product would be generally available by year end.

+ More on Network World: Is SDN your next security nightmare? | Open Networking: The Whale that swallowed SDN +

According to Dror Salee, GuardiCore co-founder and vice president of marketing, an example of how Active Honeypot works would be if an attacker appears to be trying to cause a VM server to connect outside its allowed configuration, instead of just having a firewall block it and time out, the Active Honeypot instead would seek to trick the attacker by re-routing them to a 'honeypot' VM server that would track them.

The GuardiCore-based decoy honeypot, intended to appear like an SQL Server or SSH Server, for example, would be subject to whatever the attacker could dish out, but would be monitoring and reporting back to the security manager while also possibly sharing the attack data with existing security and information and event management products.

"Attacks are sophisticated these days with organized crime," says Salee. If the attacker gets into the data center, GuardiCore plans for its "ambush" honeypot approach to be able to both identify the attack, investigate it by tracing how the attacker or malware behaves and if the decision is made, block it. Salee says the Active Honeypot approach does presume the GuardiCore software will be granted access to the organization's switches in order to block connections considered a threat or attack. GuardiCore says it's also working on sandboxing-style detection to detect malware.

Salee says beta tests are underway with enterprises and service providers, with the Active Honeypot, not yet publicly priced, expected out by year end.

In addition to Salee, the two other co-founders of GuardiCore include Pavel Gurvich, CEO and Ariel Zeitlin, CTO. The company previously received $1.6 million in venture-capital funding from angel investors, and today also announced an additional $11 million led by Battery Ventures with participation from Greylock.

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