“Hannibal Lecter would make a great colleague if he didn’t have that nasty habit of eating people,” says Max Kilger, social psychologist for the Honeynet Project.

Kilger is expounding his particular passion: criminal profiling. Not the traditional sleuthing employed in The Silence of the Lambs, but the cyber kind.



“It’s Clarice Starling meets the Matrix,” he says.



Kilger is a member of the Honeynet Project, a non-profit research body of US security professionals determined to find out as much as they can about the so-called Black Hat community and how it works.



The members of Honeynet are volunteers and have been at the job since late 1999. All their research is open-source and shared with the security community.



Honeypots act like bait or decoys, helping network administrators detect anyone “sniffing” their network.



Organisations spend enormous amounts of time trying to secure their systems and log suspicious activities, but they admit they are fighting a losing battle. Few have adequate resources to trawl though the gigabytes of data they get, and staff are constantly trying to keep security patches up to date and firewalls strong. Honeypots can provide them with a very different kind of weapon.



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