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SCANTRAP: Protecting Content Management Systems from Vulnerability Scanners with Cyber Deception and Obfuscation

Daniel Reti; Karina Elzer; Hans Dieter Schotten
In: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Information Systems Security and Privacy - ICISSP. International Conference on Information Systems Security and Privacy (ICISSP-2023), Pages 485-492, ISBN 978-989-758-624-8, SciTePress, 2023.


Every attack begins with gathering information about the target. The entry point for network breaches are often vulnerabilities in internet facing websites, which often rely on an off-the-shelf Content Management System (CMS). Bot networks and human attackers alike rely on automated scanners to gather information about the CMS software installed and potential vulnerabilities. To increase the security of websites using a CMS, it is desirable to make the use of CMS scanners less reliable. The aim of this work is to extend the current knowledge about cyber deception in regard to CMS. To demonstrate this, a WordPress Plugin called ’SCANTRAP’ was created, which uses simulation and dissimulation in regards to plugins, themes, versions, and users. We found that the resulting plugin is capable of obfuscating real information and to a certain extent inject false information to the output of one of the most popular WordPress scanners, WPScan, without limiting the legitimate functionality of th e WordPress installation.


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