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Intentional security holes


Sinkholes and watering holes are two expressionsnot automatically associated with computer security, yet they are in use to describe two tactics that are used in this field.

Both are set up in order to disrupt the “normal” flow of things. This post aims to introduce both these expressions and explain the differences, so you won’t get them confused.


A DNS sinkhole in cyberspace is a means of taking away traffic from the intended target. It is often used as a defense mechanism against botnets. The DNS of the Command and Control (C&C) server(s) is interrupted and the traffic can either be dropped or rerouted for analysis. One objective of analysis is to get an overview of the drones in the botnet that are under control of the C&C.

The WIndows hosts file that blocks traffic to known malicious domains can be considered a miniature sinkhole as it can be used to ‘drop’ the traffic to all the domains listed in the hosts file, by rerouting it to

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