Latest in Gear

Image credit: mixmotive via Getty Images

FBI program helps companies fool hackers with 'decoy data'

IDLE might reduce the chances of thieves making off with valuable data.
250 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

mixmotive via Getty Images

The FBI thinks it has a way for companies to limit the damage from data breaches: lure thieves into taking the wrong data. Ars Technica has learned of an FBI program, IDLE (Illicit Data Loss Exploitation), that has companies plant "decoy data" to confuse intruders looking to steal valuable info. Think of it as a honeypot for would-be fraudsters and corporate spies.

Although the FBI isn't sharing the finer details of how IDLE works, an official told Ars it mixes data within existing data structures to make it appear authentic. A hacker couldn't just grab data in bulk and expect it all to be useful, and merely downloading the decoys could warn IT staff that something sinister is afoot. The FBI helps create the bogus data using real info, but an official said that the bureau doesn't retain info and obtains it solely through consent.

There's no guarantee this will be effective. A smart intruder might parse the data, and it's only as effective as the company's underlying security system. If it has sub-par defenses, bait data won't help much. For the FBI, though, this isn't as much about providing airtight protection as it is about taking a proactive approach that helps companies "prepare their defenses" instead of merely reacting to breaches when they occur. In that regard, it may be a helpful piece of a larger security puzzle.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
250 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Google fully explains why its apps aren't on new Huawei phones

Google fully explains why its apps aren't on new Huawei phones

View
WSJ: Comcast's NBCUniversal is in advanced talks to acquire Vudu

WSJ: Comcast's NBCUniversal is in advanced talks to acquire Vudu

View
'Friends' cast is locked in for a reunion special to launch HBO Max

'Friends' cast is locked in for a reunion special to launch HBO Max

View
Google search is showing invitations to private WhatsApp groups

Google search is showing invitations to private WhatsApp groups

View
The Hot Wheels RC Cybertruck is a mini Tesla for $400

The Hot Wheels RC Cybertruck is a mini Tesla for $400

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr