Building a cheap, powerful intrusion-detection system

If your overall security system doesn't include network-based intrusion detection, now is an excellent time to consider implementing an IDS package

Network-based intrusion-detection systems (IDS) are an integral component of a layered IT security strategy. As October is National Cyber Awareness Month, if your overall security system doesn't include network-based intrusion detection, now is an excellent time to consider implementing an IDS package.

Commercial network-based IDS can often be quite expensive. On the other hand, there is the common perception that implementing an open-source IDS is complicated. Recently, I had the opportunity to install an open-source IDS and found the opposite to be true. You can easily build a powerful open source-based IDS in less than a day, as I did.

The object of this article isn't to provide a step-by-step instruction for installing and managing an open-source IDS, because there are plenty of resources available for that. Rather, it's intended to lay the foundation for such. If you have ever considered implementing an open-source IDS but felt lost when researching how to do so, this article is for you.

Snort and BASE

Two packages necessary for creating an effective open-source database are Snort and BASE (Basic Analysis Security Engine). Snort was originally created in 1998 by Martin Roesch as an open-source alternative to commercial IDS packages. BASE is built on the work of the defunct Analysis Console for Intrusion Databases (ACID) project.

As with many open-source applications, Snort is available as source code or as a binary install package for Linux or Windows. BASE, on the other hand, is operating system-independent. Therefore, both may be set up on either a Linux or Windows machine, with a similar amount of effort.

The goal of this article is to demonstrate the ease in creating an IDS using older computers and therefore focuses on building a Snort IDS on a Linux system, but the methods for installing on a Windows system are very similar. Because of how far Linux distributions have progressed, if you have installed Windows, you can install Snort on Linux with little difficulty.

Preparing the system

Deciding on placement of the IDS within the network is critical. The IDS machine must connect to a port that can see all traffic between the LAN and the Internet. This means either connecting to a mirrored switch port or a hub located between the Internet connection and the LAN. If a firewall and only one IDS sensor is used, the sensor should be placed between the firewall and the LAN, for reasons that will be discussed later.

Choosing the type of machine to use is dependent on the environment and the data desired. A Snort IDS setup can involve one or several independent machines, or many that report to a central database server. The faster the connection being monitored and the level of logging dictate the machine capabilities.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Greg Schaffer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?