What if you could set traps for hackers and script kiddies trying to scan ports on your computer?
As any valuable hacker knows, better information leads to better attacks. Therefore, the first thing any potential attacker will do is collect information about her victim: your machine. This can be performed thanks to some really impressive port scanning tools, probably being Nmap the most popular among them.
Ok, but what is micetrap?
Micetrap opens a server on either a given or random port, emulating fake vulnerable services. Port scanners such as Nmap, when fingerprinting ports to discover service names and versions, will get apparently legitimate responses from common services such as FTP, HTTP or MySQL servers, therefore misleading potential attackers with false information.
Depending on the operating system you are using, micetrap will try its best to look feasible by choosing the appropriate fake services and versions to emulate. Whenever possible, micetrap will provide a bit outdated versions which are more likely to be vulnerable, and thus making the attacker focus on those ports. While the attacker tries to exploit these ports, she is essentially sending certain packets – which get properly captured and logged by micetrap. This information might be useful to discover what kind of attacks are being tried against your machine, therefore giving you time and the opportunity to defend appropriately.
Running micetrap with sudo will allow it to use default, unsuspicious ports, which may give you advantage at tricking a smart attacker.
First we need to install micetrap as a gem:
$ gem install micetrap
…or, if you want to be able to use it with sudo:
$ sudo gem install micetrap
Micetrap currently runs on Ruby versions 1.8.7 and 1.9.2.
Then we fire up the server with some fake service, such as an ftp server:
$ micetrap ftp --port 8765
If everything is ok, you will see something like this:
(some timestamp) ::: Ftp trap listening on ::ffff:0.0.0.0:8765
TL;DR: Most port scanners such as nmap have some kind of fingerprinting capabilities. This means that, in order to discover which services and versions run behind a specific port, they send special packets or probes which make different services and versions react differently. By capturing the response and matching it against a database, most of the time they can reliably determine what service and version is running behind that port.
Port scanners usually start by sending a blank probe, since many servers respond with a welcome banner telling interesting stuff about them. Micetrap only responds to those early blank probes. Let’s try to port-scan this fake ftp service with nmap fingerprinting:
$ nmap 127.0.0.1 -p 8765 -A
We are scanning localhost, port 8765, and -A means service version detection and OS guessing. After a while, in our micetrap server terminal we see:
(timestamp) Recorded a probe coming from ::ffff:127.0.0.1:51082 containing the following: (empty line) (timestamp) ::: Responded misleadingly: let's drive those hackers nuts! :::
These lines get logged inside a .log file within the current directory. And in the nmap terminal:
Starting Nmap 5.35DC1 ( http://nmap.org ) at (timestamp) Nmap scan report for localhost (127.0.0.1) Host is up (0.00017s latency). PORT STATE SERVICE VERSION 8765/tcp open ftp Mac OS X Server ftpd
The faked service/version is random (you can start an ftp server which looks like lukemftpd, Mac OS X server ftpd or PureFTPd for example), but it is consistent within the same server, so that every scan reports the same service and version.
U mad? Evil hackers
For now there are a bunch of ftp, http, torrent, mysql and samba services, mostly Mac-ish. But you can always…
If you want to contribute with more services and versions to empower micetrap and be a hacking superhero, you shall follow these steps:
- Fork the project in the Github repo.
- Install nmap and look for a file called nmap-service-probes in your system. This file contains regexes used to match responses from scanned services.
- You only have to devise a string which fits in one of this regexes and then add it in the corresponding service file (in lib/micetrap/services/ftp.rb for example if it’s an ftp server).
- Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history. If you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull.
- Send me a pull request. Bonus points for topic branches.