What is Honeypotting in Cyber Security & How Does It Protect Against Cyber Attacks?

19 December 2023

With rapid digital advancements, it’s no surprise that threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and persuasive. Due to this, cyber security must be a top priority for businesses and organisations worldwide. Among the various techniques employed to fortify defences, Honeypotting presents a powerful cyber security strategy to safeguard IT infrastructure. Read on to learn more about Honeypotting and its role in preventing cyber attacks.

Understanding Honeypotting

Honeypotting is a proactive cyber security technique that involves setting up decoy servers or systems within your organisation’s existing network to mimic vulnerable resources or systems that would present as a target. These simulated targets, known as honeypots, imitate vulnerabilities within real assets, such as your servers or databases. However, they have no legitimate purpose other than to attract the attacker and deter them from their intended target.

Types of Honeypots

Email, Malware, Database and Spider represent the core types of honeypots, each designed to mirror types of cyber threats and gather information on them. Each type of honeypot serves a specific purpose and should be implemented depending on the required objective:

Production Honeypots

Production honeypots are deployed alongside an organisation’s genuine production systems to monitor and detect ongoing attacks against critical assets. These honeypots function as decoys, diverting the attention of cyber attackers away from legitimate targets.

Research Honeypots

Research honeypots are used for analysing attacker activity, enabling them to enhance protection measures against such threats. They can also unveil hidden vulnerabilities in software systems that would otherwise remain undetected.

High-Interaction Honeypots

High-interaction honeypots offer a detailed environment for the attacker and are designed to lure them in for long periods of time, making them suitable for in-depth analysis. These honeypots often provide different layers of databases and processes for the attacker to penetrate, allowing administrators to observe the attackers intentions, preferred information, and methods behind acquiring it.

Low-Interaction Honeypots

Low-interaction honeypots provide limited interaction with attackers and function to gather fundamental information on the attacker and threat.

A business laptop that is secured from cyber attacks

How Honeypotting Protects Against Cyber Attacks

Honeypotting provides invaluable cyber security insights into the evolving threat landscape, enabling organisations to fortify their cyber security defences effectively. Further advantages of honeypotting include:

Early Detection

Honeypots act as early warning systems by attracting attackers and signalling a potential security threat when an attacker interacts with a honeypot. This early detection enables your security team to respond swiftly.

Information Gathering

Honeypots capture valuable information about attack methods, tools, intentions and even the identity of the attacker. This data helps cyber security professionals understand evolving threats and fortify their defences accordingly.

Diversion Tactics

By drawing attackers away from your actual production systems, honeypots can divert their attention and protect your critical assets. Attackers may invest time and resources in attempting to compromise the decoy, reducing the risk to your genuine infrastructure.


Honeypots create a sense of uncertainty for attackers. They cannot distinguish between real and fake assets, which makes them more cautious and potentially less effective in their attacks.

Training and Research

Security professionals can use honeypots to enhance their skills and conduct research on emerging threats. By analysing honeypot data, they can develop effective countermeasures and stay ahead of cyber adversaries.


Is Honeypotting a Common Cyber Security Defence in the IT Industry?

Honeypots offer a variety of benefits, encompassing cost-efficiency, data collection, insight into internal processes and performance, and improved reliability in cyber security detection.

Honeypotting as a cyber security strategy has accumulated increasing attention and adoption within the IT industry as organisations recognise its value in bolstering cyber defences. While its prevalence varies among companies and sectors, many forward-thinking organisations have embraced honeypots as a proactive cyber security measure. By deploying honeypots as part of your security strategy, you can enhance your readiness to defend against malicious actors in an ever-changing digital landscape.


Contact Us

At Croft, we’re committed to partnering with businesses to strengthen their defences and protect them from cyber security risks. Read our guide to cyber security for SMEs to learn more, or contact us to discover our range of cyber detection and response services.