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Dallas Professor Develops ‘Stealth’ Program To Trap Hackers

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Less than a week after a major cyber security flaw left millions of people wondering if their passwords, credit card numbers and even bank account numbers are safe, a University of Texas-Dallas professor says he has come up with a way to put the fear into hackers.

Cybersecurity expert Professor Kevin Hamlen said he has developed a program that traps hackers.

“It actually leads the attackers astray and makes them think that they are succeeding when they are actually just getting are fake secrets,” Hamlen said.

For the past year he, along with a graduate student, have been working on the program he calls “Red Herring”.

Typically when a hacker hits a security wall, they receive a denied message.

However using Red Herring, Hamlen says the hacker will be given fake information.

It’s a trap, which the cybersecurity expert says is the key in preventing future attacks.

“It’s very valuable to have a trap to allow us to figure out who might be exploding this vulnerability and what they are trying to do with the information that they are learning.”

Even servers not protected by “Red Herring”, Hamlen said would benefit as the “stealth” nature of the program could detract many hackers from “probing” websites for security flaws out of fear of being caught with phony information.

Last week the UT-Dallas professor said “Red Herring” was successfully tested against the “Heartbleed” bug.

“Heartbleed” is a bug that potentially gives hackers access to passwords and account numbers in the widely used encryption software, called OpenSSL.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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