Google Summer of Code (SOC) 2009 application

Please note that GSoC 2011 has now successfully completed. This content is being retained for reference only.

1. Describe your organization.

Founded in 2000, the Honeynet Project is a non-profit research organization dedicated to improving the security of the Internet.  For the past ten years everything we have done and continue to do is based on the principles of opensource and volunteer efforts.  Our bylaws specifically state any software or papers developed and published by the organization must be licensed as open source and made freely available to the community.  Our goal is to help coordinate the development, deployment, advancement and research findings of honeypot related technologies. With over thirty chapters, one hundred members and twenty opensource research projects around around the world, we are a highly diverse and international organization.

2. Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2009? What do you hope to gain by participating? What do you hope to gain by participating?

One of our greatest contributions to the secuirty community is new ideas and technology.  We find that students often have the most innovative ideas and the greatest motivation to see them developed quickly.  With GSoC, we hope to tap into the tremendous pool of talent around the world. In addition, in the long term, we hope to identify and develop new members that can contribute to our organization and the community at large. Finally, we hope to contribute to the student and education community by helping sponsored students improve their software development and project related experience.

3. Did your organization participate in past GSoCs?  If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation.

No, although some of our members and project mentors have individually been successful mentors for GSoCs in the past.

4. If your organization has not previously participated in GSoC, have you applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)?

Yes, 2007

5. What license(s) does your project use?

We allow our members to use any license as long as it is certified by the OpenSource foundation at  All members own copyright to their own code.

6. What is the URL for your ideas page?

7. What is the main development mailing list for your organization?

We have a primary mailling list called ALL used by our members to coordinate all of our different research projects.  Major research projects then get their own dedicated maillist specific to the project, which can be public or private.

8. What is the main IRC channel for your organization?

9. Does your organization have an application template you would like
to see students use? If so, please provide it now.


10. Who will be your backup organization administrator?

David Watson (UK), our Chief Research Officer.

11. What criteria did you use to select these individuals as mentors? Please be as specific as possible.

Each mentor has been extensively reviewed and must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Over five years successful experience in opensource work.
  • Proven record of leading opensource projects. Must have helped develop and test at least one new opensource technology, be passionate about their chosen field and able to encourage others to work as a team.
  • Highly motivated and actively wants a mentoring position. Usually has a specific personal interest in the success of their individual project and experience of dealing with developers new to our Project.
  • Must be a proven member of our organization and able to commit the necessary time to the proposed project.
  • Experienced at distributed development practices and electronic team communcation.
  • Usually considered a subject matter expert in their chosen field and used to explaining their ideas to different groups of people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

12. What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?

Our goal is to keep students highly motivated. We believe the key to achieving this is great communication and support.  We provide a variety of channels for our members to communicate, including IRC, maillists and VoIP, which will all be made available to sponsored students.  However, we understand at times that situations beyone one's control can arise. If a student is not being responsive they will get a one week warning and we will make every effort to contact them and understand how we can help them with their situation. The goal is to identify what issues the student is having and what we can do to better support and help the student. If they are still not responsive then they will get a second and final warning.  If after two weeks of no response they will be removed from the program.

13. What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?

Each mentor has been a member of our organization for at least five years. We have the highest confidence that this will not be an issue.  To help protect against this risk, most of our projects have multiple mentors identified and we will normally be able to provide an immediate backup mentor. However, in the rare case that a suitable mentor is not immediately available, a highly qualified back up that is a long standing member of our organization has been identified for each project and will step in to ensure the project remains on track.

14. What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with
your project's community before, during and after the program?

Each member will be added to our internal communications maillist and IRC (SILC) channel. Here they will be introduced to our members and given access to a great deal of communication and coding resources.  In addition, the Honeynet Project has a variety of mechanisms for interaction with the community, including:

  • Public mailing lists for active public projects
  • Specialist internal mailing lists for R&D activity on particular topics
  • Subversion and trac server for project hosting and collaborative development
  • A public website allowing dynamic content, including blogging and projects
  • Connections to major academic institutions in almost every contry
  • Regular face to face meetings at major conferences, workshops and other public or private events
  • An invite to our Annual Workshop, which was held in Kuala Lumpur this year and had 50+ members for all over the world in attendence.

If there is significant interest in our project ideas before GSoC begins, we will either start a new public IRC channel or open a public channel on our own internal SILC server to encourage prospective GSoC students.

15. What will you do to ensure that your accepted students stick with the project after GSoC concludes?

The Honeynet Project has a well established structure, including members, officers, directors and by-laws.  Everything is designed to encourage the coordination and communication of our members.  We will encourage SOC students to join a local Chapter. Each Chapter is designed to promote members to continue the projects by working with other.  In addition, we will give the full support and resources for their project, including hardware and infrastructure.

The majority of our members have been with us for many years and actively participate in a number of projects each year, so we'd hope to foster the same level of involvement and contiued collaboration with all succesful GSoC students. In addition, we can also potentially offer future support for continuation of successful GSoC projects.