Recourse Technologies: Roach Motel for Hackers

Think of ManTrap from Recourse Technologies as a roach motel where crackers hack in but they can’t hack out.

For $3,495, the ManTrap software automates the creation of a vulnerable looking decoy server to entrap the unwary hacker and track all their moves as they rummage through the server.

According to Recourse, ManTrap creates custom random content on a server dedicated to it using company information, such as full employee names, usernames and other business information, thus easily creating a seemingly vulnerable system that appears authentic and valuable to attackers. When an attack occurs, intruder activity and evidence are covertly recorded and saved for use in the event that prosecution evidence is necessary. ManTrap is designed to contain an intruder and identify them all the while keeping hackers away from really valuable data. In addition, it automatically notifies the network administrator when suspicious activity starts on the server.

ManTrap (works against female hackers as well) grew out of the hacker-thwarting experiences that founders Frank Huerta and Michael Lyle had in 1998 at |ber-hoster Exodus Communications. Together, they developed a “spoof box” that could trap and track intruders. The spoof box was used to nail a hacker from Russia and from this the duo realized they had a useful product.

They launched Recourse in March 1999 with a seed round of $1 million from Doll Capital Management and brought ManTrap to market in September. The company received another $6.75 million in October from Doll and Menlo Ventures.

“This is obviously something that you do when the rest of your security house is in order,” said Meta Group analyst Chris King. “Since it doesn’t actually protect your resources, you’re in bad shape if your firewalls and the rest of your security are not in order.” In addition, King said that with the current pricing, the product would appeal mostly to “leading edge financial services users.”

“My guess is that they are going to have to tweak their pricing model,” King said.

According to IDC, the intrusion detection market is small but rapidly growing with 1999 revenues estimated at just $262 million. IDC expects the market to reach $977 million in 2003.

ManTrap’s new entry faces established competition from Cisco Systems, Network Associates, Security Dynamics, Axent Technologies and Internet Security Systems.

Currently ManTrap support Solaris 7 only but will be adding Linux support in mid-2000 according to Fred Kost, vice president of product marketing and product management.

So, as the Millennium New Year’s hacking and cracking season approaches, intruders should realize that the unlocked door on the armored car they’re about to stick up could conceal a swat team instead of money. Happy New Year!


Company Name: Recourse Technologies

Address: 2450 El Camino Real, Suite 100, palo Alto, CA 94306

Phone: (650) 565-8601

Fax: (650) 565-8602

Contact email address: [email protected]
Web address:

Employees: 20

Total Funding: 7.75 million

Investors: Doll Capital Management, Menlo Ventures.

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