Transforming MSSPs: The Role of Cyber Deception in SOC Operations

25 June 2023 | by Xavier Bellekens

In the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats, Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs), Security Operations Centers (SOCs), and analysts find themselves in a constant game of cat and mouse. The adversary is agile, employing complex and innovative techniques that present unique challenges, demanding equal innovation in defense strategies. Enter the world of cyber deception, a proactive security approach that not only disrupts traditional patterns of defense, but also introduces new paradigms of thinking about cybersecurity.

Cyber deception provides an effective strategy to detect, delay, and respond to advanced threats, enabling organizations to take the upper hand against adversaries. By mimicking a system’s resources and operations, cyber deception can lead attackers into a controlled environment, buying precious time for detection and mitigation.

This article aims to explore how cyber deception is transforming the operations of MSSPs, SOCs, and analysts. We will delve into the daily challenges these entities face, highlighting the need for an effective, proactive strategy that anticipates the manoeuvres of cyber adversaries. Furthermore, we will elucidate the concept of cyber deception, its role in today’s cyber defenses, and its potential to fundamentally shift how we approach cybersecurity. In doing so, we hope to shed light on the advantages and potential of this powerful tool in the arsenal of modern cyber defense.

So, buckle up as we navigate the intricate pathways of deception, discovering its profound impact on the world of Managed Security Services and beyond.

The Challenges of MSSPs

In the fiercely contested realm of cybersecurity, as a Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs), you grapple with a variety of challenges on a daily basis. These challenges are fuelled by the increasing sophistication of cyber threats, which have become more intricate, stealthy, and damaging over the years.

As you navigate the increasingly complex landscape of cybersecurity, you may find your organization facing one or more of these challenges. Whether it’s the daunting volume of data to sift through, the persistent shortage of skilled cybersecurity personnel, the struggle with false positives, or the need for faster threat identification and response, these challenges can seem overwhelming. However, with innovative approaches like cyber deception, we have the tools and strategies at our disposal to transform these challenges into opportunities for enhancing our cybersecurity posture.

A list of the main challenges we hear from MSSPs on a daily basis

One of the primary challenges we all face is the sheer volume of data. With a multitude of endpoints, network activities, and applications, we deal with an overwhelming amount of information that needs constant monitoring. While technology helps, it is often akin to finding a needle in a digital haystack, as threats cleverly blend into normal network behavior.

Additionally, Security Operations Centers (SOCs) grapple with false positives. Too many benign activities are flagged as threats, requiring hours of unnecessary investigation. Not only does this divert our focus from genuine threats, but it also leads to ‘alert fatigue’ amongst our analysts.

Identifying legitimate threats in the vast sea of network activity is a Herculean task. Each day, we wrestle with an avalanche of alerts, most of which turn out to be false positives. These false alarms create noise that can obscure genuine threats, complicating our detection efforts. We expend considerable resources and time on investigating these false positives, which could have been better spent on proactive threat hunting or enhancing our security posture. This constant barrage of alerts can lead to ‘alert fatigue’, where crucial warnings might be overlooked due to the overwhelming number of false alarms. Effectively, we are locked in a battle not just against cyber threats, but also against the clock and our own defense systems.

The threats themselves are evolving, as well. We’re up against adversaries who are adopting advanced persistent threats (APTs), polymorphic malware, and file-less attacks, amongst other techniques. These advanced threats require innovative detection and mitigation strategies, as traditional security measures often fall short.

Another substantial challenge is our ability to identify threats proactively, before a breach has occurred. Traditional security measures are often reactive, designed to respond after a breach has been detected. However, the current cyber threat landscape demands more proactive, predictive strategies. The average time to identify and contain a breach is alarmingly high, providing attackers ample time to inflict damage, steal sensitive data, and even establish persistence for future attacks. This necessitates a shift from our traditional reliance on signature-based detection methods towards more technique tactics and procedure approaches that can identify anomalies and potentially malicious activity in real time, before an actual breach occurs. This shift is fundamental to our role as MSSPs, demanding innovative approaches and tools, such as cyber deception, to stay one step ahead of the cyber adversaries.

Furthermore, the scarcity of skilled cybersecurity personnel amplifies the complexity of our tasks. The demand for cybersecurity experts far outpaces supply, putting additional strain on our existing teams. This often results in overworked analysts, underlining the need for more intelligent, SOC automated defenses.

Moreover, the expanding attack surface, due to the rise in IoT devices, the shift towards remote working, and increased use of cloud-based services, has made the task of securing our clients’ digital assets more daunting.

Given these challenges, it’s clear that the cyber landscape requires us to constantly evolve our strategies, tools, and methodologies. It is in this context that cyber deception emerges as a compelling tool in our security portfolio, promising to transform the way we identify and respond to threats. The following sections will further explore how cyber deception fits into this puzzle, promising to ease these daily challenges we face.

1High Volume of DataThe overwhelming amount of information from various endpoints, network activities, and applications that needs constant monitoring can lead to information overload.
2Shortage of Skilled StaffThe cybersecurity industry faces a significant talent gap, resulting in overworked teams and stretched resources.
3False PositivesMany benign activities are flagged as threats, leading to unnecessary investigations and causing ‘alert fatigue’ amongst analysts.
4Advanced ThreatsAdversaries are employing increasingly sophisticated techniques, such as advanced persistent threats (APTs), polymorphic malware, and file-less attacks, that are hard to detect and mitigate.
5Expanding Attack SurfaceThe rise in IoT devices, remote working, and increased use of cloud-based services have expanded the attack surface and made it more difficult to secure digital assets.
6Identification and Response TimesThe time taken to identify and respond to a breach is often too long, allowing attackers to cause significant damage or exfiltrate sensitive data.
7Proactive Threat IdentificationTraditional security measures are mostly reactive, struggling to detect and counter threats before a breach occurs.
8Integration of ToolsIt can be challenging to integrate various security tools and ensure they work in harmony, providing a coherent and unified security stance.
9Compliance RequirementsAdhering to the ever-changing landscape of regulatory compliance requirements can be time-consuming and complex.
10Budget ConstraintsCybersecurity budgets often struggle to keep pace with the growing threats and the technological solutions needed to counter them.
11Keeping Up-to-Date with Threat IntelligenceThe rapid evolution of cyber threats requires continuous learning and adaptation of threat intelligence.
12Client Communication and ReportingProviding clients with clear, concise, and timely reports on their security status, while also communicating complex security concepts, can be challenging.

Understanding Cyber Deception

What exactly is cyber deception, and how does it work?

At its core, cyber deception is a method of security defense that uses deceit and misdirection to trick attackers. Instead of waiting for cybercriminals to infiltrate the network, cyber deception tools actively lure adversaries into engaging with decoy systems or data. These decoys are designed to mimic genuine systems, files, or network segments, enticing attackers away from real targets. This proactive approach allows us to take the offensive against cyber threats.

By intentionally creating an environment or deploying sporadic decoys across a network, we transform the attacker’s strength – their ability to remain hidden while conducting reconnaissance – into a vulnerability. The moment attackers interact with these deceptive elements, they reveal their presence. This early detection of threats provides us with more time to respond, analyze the attack vectors, and mitigate the risk.

Additionally, cyber deception provides valuable insight into attack methodologies and patterns. By analyzing the interactions between attackers and the deceptive elements, we can gather detailed information about the attackers, their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), and their objectives. This threat intelligence can then be leveraged to enhance our overall security posture, tailor our defenses, and stay one step ahead of the cyber adversaries.

Beyond deception technology itself, cyber deception involves a strategic, organization-wide approach. It requires careful planning and placement of deceptive elements, regular updating to reflect changes in genuine systems, and detailed analysis of the data gathered. Therefore, cyber deception is not just a tool, but rather a comprehensive strategy for proactive and enhanced cybersecurity.

In the following sections, we will delve into the specific benefits of cyber deception for MSSPs, SOCs, and analysts, illuminating how this revolutionary approach is reshaping our daily operations and transforming the cybersecurity landscape.

The Role of Cyber Deception in MSSPs

As Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs), your primary mission is to provide robust and effective security solutions that safeguard our clients’ digital assets. In a landscape characterized by rapidly evolving threats, the adoption of innovative defense strategies is a must. Among these, cyber deception has emerged as a powerful tool that enhances our security operations in multiple ways.

Firstly, cyber deception allows us to switch from a passive stance to a more proactive one. Traditional security measures, while still essential, often operate reactively. Cyber deception, on the other hand, actively baits cybercriminals into revealing themselves, turning the tables on attackers. Deceptive elements such as decoy systems, or fake data are strategically placed across the network, luring in attackers and triggering alerts at the earliest stages of the attack lifecycle.

But, most importantly, cyber deception significantly reduces the noise associated with false positives. Since the deceptive elements should only be interacted with by malicious actors, any engagement with them is likely a legitimate threat. This leads to high-fidelity alerts, which enable our analysts to focus their efforts where it matters most, improving overall operational efficiency.

In terms of scalability, cyber deception platforms can be deployed across various environments, from on-premises to cloud-based systems, making them an excellent fit for a wide array of clients’ needs. As MSSPs, this allows us to provide an added layer of defense that is adaptable to the unique requirements of each client.

Cyber deception aligns perfectly with the MSSP model of delivering managed services from a security operations center. The deception platform can be integrated into the existing SOC tools, such as Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems, enhancing the threat detection capabilities and providing enriched, actionable threat intelligence.

By luring attackers into engaging with decoy elements, cyber deception facilitates the early detection of threats, often at the reconnaissance stage of the cyber attack lifecycle. This gives MSSP and their SOC the upper hand in swiftly reacting to threats, disrupting the attacker’s plans and containing potential breaches in a timely manner, thus reducing the impact on the client’s infrastructure.

Along with enhanced reactivity, cyber deception can significantly bolster your reputation as an MSSPs by improving key metrics. In an industry where trust is paramount, the ability to detect and mitigate threats proactively – rather than merely responding to breaches – positions yourself as a proactive, forward-thinking, and reliable partner in cybersecurity. This proactive defense approach, driven by cyber deception, signals to clients and the industry at large that you are taking an innovative, intelligence-driven stance against cyber threats. It showcases the your commitment to staying ahead of the curve, utilizing cutting-edge tools and strategies to protect their clients’ assets. This not only strengthens existing client relationships but also attracts prospective clients, ultimately enhancing your standing and reputation in the competitive cybersecurity market.

How Cyber Deception Transforms SOCs and Analyst Operations

As we continue to navigate through the labyrinth of cybersecurity, the role of Security Operations Centers (SOCs) and analysts has become indispensable. However, their operations are often fraught with challenges, ranging from the overwhelming number of alerts to the constant pressure of early threat detection. This is where the transformative power of cyber deception comes into play.

Streamlining Threat Detection

Traditional detection methods often require analysts to sift through numerous alerts, many of which turn out to be false positives. Cyber deception reduces this burden significantly. As deceptive elements within the network should only be interacted with by malicious entities, any interaction triggers a high-confidence alert. This ensures that SOC analysts focus their efforts on genuine threats, increasing operational efficiency and response times.

Enriching Threat Intelligence

Cyber deception provides a goldmine of threat intelligence. By luring attackers into engaging with decoy systems, networks, or data, we can closely monitor and record their actions. This provides a detailed understanding of the attacker’s Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs), tools used, and potential objectives. This invaluable intelligence not only assists in mitigating the current threat but also enhances the organization’s overall security posture, aiding in strategy formulation and proactive defense measures.

Mitigating Alert Fatigue

Alert fatigue, caused by a barrage of false positives, is a significant challenge that analysts face. It can lead to desensitization, with crucial alerts potentially being overlooked. By producing high-fidelity alerts, cyber deception greatly reduces the occurrence of false positives, thereby mitigating alert fatigue. This ensures that analysts stay vigilant and effective in their roles.

Enhancing Incident Response

Upon detecting a threat, a rapid and effective response is crucial to minimize damage. The detailed intelligence gathered from cyber deception aids incident response teams in understanding the attack vector, helping them swiftly and effectively contain the breach. It can also help in forensic investigations post-incident, enabling a more comprehensive understanding of the attack.

Promoting Proactive Defense

Lastly, cyber deception shifts the SOC operations from a primarily reactive model to a proactive one. Instead of waiting for a breach to happen, SOCs, armed with cyber deception, can actively engage with and study the attackers, disrupting their activities before they infiltrate the real systems.

In conclusion, cyber deception significantly transforms the operations of SOCs and analysts, offering them a more manageable, intelligence-driven, and proactive approach towards cybersecurity. By integrating cyber deception into their arsenal, they can stay a step ahead of attackers, reinforcing the cybersecurity landscape.

How Does Cyber Deception help you as an MSSP

ChallengeHow Cyber Deception Helps
High Volume of DataCyber deception reduces the data volume by producing high-fidelity alerts, allowing analysts to focus on legitimate threats.
Shortage of Skilled StaffThe use of automated and intelligent cyber deception tools can help reduce the workload on the existing staff, making the security operations more efficient.
False PositivesBy nature, engagement with deceptive elements is most likely a malicious activity, significantly reducing false positives and improving alert quality.
Advanced ThreatsCyber deception provides valuable insights into the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) of attackers, helping to detect and mitigate advanced threats.
Expanding Attack SurfaceDeceptive elements can be deployed across various environments (including cloud, on-premises, IoT etc.) thus protecting the expanding attack surface.
Identification and Response TimesEarly detection of threats using cyber deception allows for quicker response times, thereby reducing the potential damage.
Proactive Threat IdentificationCyber deception is inherently proactive. It lures attackers into engaging with decoy systems, revealing their presence even before a breach occurs.
Integration of ToolsCyber deception platforms such as Lupovis can be integrated with existing SOC tools within minutes to enhance overall threat detection and response capabilities.
Compliance RequirementsDeception technology can aid in demonstrating due diligence and proactive defense measures, helping fulfill compliance requirements.
Budget ConstraintsCyber deception can make security operations more efficient, thus providing a higher return on investment and aiding in budget optimization.
Keeping Up-to-Date with Threat IntelligenceInteractions with deceptive elements provide continuous and real-time contextual threat intelligence, helping to stay updated with evolving threat landscape.
Client Communication and ReportingCyber deception can provide tangible evidence of threats and breaches, thereby improving communication and reporting to clients.

In essence, cyber deception can address a multitude of challenges you may face as an MSSP.

How can Lupovis help

As an MSSP, your daily operations involve a myriad of tasks, from monitoring countless security alerts to identifying and mitigating threats. Lupovis is designed to streamline these operations and empower you to safeguard your clients’ digital assets more effectively.

Our Lupovis Snare, a state-of-the-art Deception as a Service (DaaS) solution, redefines your cybersecurity approach. Instead of simply reacting to breaches, you can now proactively lure attackers into engaging with decoy systems or data. This not only serves to distract adversaries from your clients’ real assets but also provides real-time, contextual threat intelligence. Each interaction with the decoy is a learning opportunity, offering insights into the attacker’s tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). Moreover, since interactions with these decoys are most likely malicious, false positives are significantly reduced. This ensures that your SOC analysts can focus their efforts on genuine threats, improving efficiency and response times.

Our global threat intelligence feed, Lupovis Prowl, by offering continuous vigilance over the cyber landscape. It collects and analyzes data to identify potential threats in real time, providing you with actionable insights. By harnessing advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms, Lupovis Prowl keeps you informed of the latest threats and vulnerabilities, enabling you to take pre-emptive defensive measures and most importantly reduce the noise in your SOC and increase its capacity.

At Lupovis, our commitment to innovation and excellence sets us apart. We leverage cutting-edge big data analytics and machine learning technologies to classify adversaries, identify vulnerable sectors, and track their attack paths. This detailed threat landscape, updated minute-by-minute, ensures you have the most accurate and up-to-date threat intelligence to guide your cybersecurity decisions. With Lupovis as your partner, you are empowered to enhance your cybersecurity posture, and deliver unparalleled service to your clients.


Incorporating cyber deception into our services can transform the operations of Security Operations Centers and analysts, ultimately improving the service we provide to our clients. The benefits are clear: improved threat detection, enhanced threat intelligence, efficient use of resources, and better client communication. The use of cyber deception allows us to stay one step ahead of attackers and continue to bolster our defenses in this ever-evolving landscape.

In conclusion, as MSSPs, it is your responsibility to navigate the front lines of cyber defense. The adoption of cyber deception equips us with the tools we need to face the future of cybersecurity head-on, ensuring that we are not just keeping pace with the threats but actively staying ahead of them. By embracing this proactive, intelligence-driven approach, we can continue to provide robust and effective security solutions, safeguarding our clients’ digital assets, and fortifying our place in the cybersecurity industry.

25 June 2023 | by Xavier Bellekens

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Whether you have a specific security issue or are looking for more information on our Deception as a Service platform, simply request a call back with one of our security experts, at a time that suits you.