CyberChaff at Reed College

Formaltech, a Galois subsidiary, and Reed are excited to celebrate CyberChaff’s first month of service at Reed. Formaltech’s CyberChaff allows you to deploy low-cost, secure decoy hosts on a network. The hosts alert administrators when an attacker is detected while also slowing down key steps in the attacker’s workflow. In March, Galois and Formaltech engineers installed CyberChaff on a core Reed network during Reed’s Spring Break, and have been slowly expanding the CyberChaff presence since then. During this period, Reed has been able to use CyberChaff to detect and address anomalies on their network.

“We were very excited to work with Reed as an early test site.” said Adam Wick, inventor of CyberChaff. “They have an amazing IT staff with a very proactive approach to network security, and were able to provide us with a lot of great guidance before, during, and after the initial install. That sort of insight is invaluable as we continue refining the CyberChaff product.”

CyberChaff works by utilizing Galois’s HaLVM unikernel technology to produce hundreds of secure sensors on a network. Each sensor looks like a real device — such as a workstation, server, network appliance, or mobile device — and will respond appropriately to scanning tools. As a result, the network footprint appears much larger than it is in reality. CyberChaff hides the real machines amongst all the secure decoy hosts. During the scan, and should an attacker later target one of these nodes, CyberChaff sends alerts that administrators can use to track down adversaries on their network, and correct any flaws they find.

“CyberChaff is the best-of-breed in Deception Technology. It’s small, secure, and provides a very sensitive sensor network without false positives,” said James Dirksen, CEO of Formaltech. “We’re helping enterprises deal with internal threats without spending a lot of money on honeypots that need to be managed by expensive analysts. By collaborating with Reed College, we’re partnering with a very forward-thinking networking and security team, and all of us are benefiting from the partnership.”

“From Reed College’s perspective, collaborating on next-generation tools like CyberChaff enable a small institution to achieve a level of network security that would otherwise be too expensive and impractical to maintain,” said Martin Ringle, Chief Information Officer at Reed. “We are grateful to Galois and Formaltech for giving us this opportunity to contribute to the development of this important cybersecurity tool.”

Jacqueline Pitter, Reed’s network security officer, agrees: “I initially heard about CyberChaff at a presentation to the NorthWest Academic Computing Consortium, and was impressed immediately with the capabilities it could provide for our network. We are excited to be a part of this project and look forward to its use elsewhere in higher education.”

To learn more about CyberChaff, please see Formaltech’s CyberChaff product page.