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What is a Canary Trap?

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A canary trap is a strategy to identify the source of an information leak that involves distributing different versions of the same story to different entities. If one of the stories leaks, the entity responsible can potentially be identified.


A firm has experienced its product plans being leaked to the media. The CEO believes that it is a top level executive who is the source of the leaks. The firm communicates different fictitious products to the head of marketing, sales and operations with instructions that the information is strictly confidential. If one of the stories leaks, the source may be identified.


People typically find out that you have given them incorrect information and may deduce that you don't trust them. This can backfire.
Overview: Canary Trap
Distributing different versions of information to different entities to determine the source of an information leak.
The term canary trap was coined by Tom Clancy in the novel Patriot Games. The technique existed before the term.
Related Concepts
Next: Honeypot

Information Security

This is the complete list of articles we have written about information security.
Audit Trail
Canary Trap
Confidential Information
Critical Infrastructure
Cryptographic Keys
Cryptographic Salt
Cybersecurity Risk
Data Breach
Data Remanence
Data Room
Data Security
Deep Magic
Defense In Depth
Digital Identity
Failure Of Imagination
Incident Response
IoT Security
Key Stretching
Network Security
Operations Security
Overlay Network
Password Entropy
Password Fatigue
Proof Of Work
Secure Code Review
Security As A Service
Security Controls
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