What Does Honeypot Mean?

A honeypot is a decoy computer system for trapping hackers or tracking unconventional or new hacking methods. Honeypots are designed to purposely engage and deceive hackers and identify malicious activities performed over the Internet.


Multiple honeypots can be set on a network to form a honeynet.

Techopedia Explains Honeypot

There are many advantages to honeypots. The main one is the ease with which they are employed. Another advantage is that although honeypots seek small amounts of hacker information, the information is considered highly valuable for studying and uncovering hackers’ motivations.

Honeypot systems are not perfect, however. They contain the usual technology risks such as firewall penetration, broken encryption methods and failure to detect attacks. In addition, honeypots are unable to detect attacks against systems that are not honeypot systems.

There are two different kinds of honeypots. They are classified based on their deployment method:

  • Production Honeypot: Used by companies and corporations for the purpose of researching the motives of hackers as well as diverting and mitigating the risk of attacks on the overall network.
  • Research Honeypot: Used by nonprofit organizations and educational institutions for the sole purpose of researching the motives and tactics of the hacker community for targeting different networks.

Honeypots are not always designed to identify hackers. Honeypot developers are often more interested in getting into the minds of hackers, which then permits them to design more secure systems, as well as to educate other professionals about the lessons learned through their efforts. Overall, honeypots are considered an effective method to track hacker behavior and heighten the effectiveness of computer security tools.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.