An Israeli startup called Illusive Networks says that it is able to foil hackers by luring them into thinking they can steal data, information which turns out to be fake.
The company's algorithm essentially detects when a network is not being used in its normal way but is instead being used to find information such as that from credit cards. It is then able to replace the real information with fake information, while hackers make off with what they think is useful personal data.
"Illusive Networks is the global pioneer of deception technology, the most effective protection against targeted attacks and advanced persistent threats (APT)," says the company on its website. "Illusive creates an alternate reality, transparently woven into your existing network. Attackers led into this reality are instantly identified with certainty, triggering a high-fidelity report that lets you know it is time to act."
In fact, Illusive is getting some pretty substantial backing. Google chairman Eric Schmidt, who is also a founding partner of Innovation Endeavors, is one of the main financial backers of the company, along with the likes of Cisco and Innovation Endeavors.
"The business world is under cybersiege, with cyberattacks dominating headlines," said Schmidt. "It is critical that we support innovative startups developing creative and disruptive solutions to these threats. Illusive Networks is a perfect example of the kind of 'out of the box' thinking necessary to challenge the growing threat of targeted attacks."
The deceptions used by Illusive are cleverly disguised. Throughout the hacking process, a hacker is given the choice between real data and fake data. If the hacker chooses the right path, they get a little further in the hacking process but are presented with the option many more times. Illusive suggests that the vast majority of the time, the hacker will get caught because there are so many deceptions and the odds are against the hacker.
According to Illusive's company research, hackers will most often get caught within three hops, which is quite early in the process and before they can do any real damage. Once caught, security can either kick the intruder out of the network or follow them around to find out where they got into the network and how they operate, essentially giving the security team the tools to improve the system.
It is systems like these that could be extremely important going forward. Hackers and security systems are both getting more complex and intricate, but with companies like Illusive thinking about things a little differently, networks could get far better at preventing threats to user data.