HoneyKube: Designing and Deploying a Microservices-based Web Honeypot


Over the past few years, we have witnessed a radical change in the architectures and infrastructures of web applications. Traditional monolithic systems are nowadays getting replaced by microservices-based architectures, which have become the natural choice for web application development due to portability, scalability, and ease of deployment. At the same time, due to its popularity, this architecture is now the target of specific cyberattacks. In the past, honeypots have been demonstrated to be valuable tools for collecting real-world attack data and understanding the methods that attackers adopt. However, to the best of our knowledge, there are no existing honeypots based on microservices architectures, which introduce new and different characteristics in the infrastructure. In this paper, we propose HoneyKube, a novel honeypot design that employs the microservices architecture for a web application. To address the challenges introduced by the highly dynamic nature of this architecture, we design an effective and scalable monitoring system that builds on top of the well-known Kubernetes orchestrator. We deploy our honeypot and collect approximately 850 GB of network and system data through our experiments. We also evaluate the fingerprintability of HoneyKube using a state-of-the-art reconnaissance tool. We release our data and source code to facilitate more research in this field.

Conference paper
Proceedings of the SecWeb Workshop (SecWeb)