Why Snort makes IDS worth the time and effort
Source: SearchSecurity - Posted by Pax Dickinson   
Intrusion Detection The decision of whether to implement an intrusion-detection system (IDS) is a complicated one. Unfortunately, IDS has a well-deserved reputation for requiring a lot of "care and feeding" and commercial systems can be very expensive. However, there is an enterprise-grade open source IDS called Snort that may tip the scales over to a "can't lose" position.

Snort is free and runs on any modern operating system and any old hardware you have. The real investment in Snort is your time and effort, but I guarantee in less than a week you will learn things about your network you never knew. At the end of three months you will have fixed a number of problems on your network that you previously didn't even know you had. For example, you may find a misconfigured management station that's using the SNMP community string 'public' for everything. We all know that's a bad thing, right?

In addition to learning about your network, you'll learn about the interesting world of malicious code. With Snort, rules are powerful, flexible and relatively easy to write, so new rules to detect the latest malware are often written by the Snort community within hours of an outbreak. Add one to your local or experimental rules file, restart Snort, and you're well on your way to detecting, containing and eliminating any infestation that makes it past your other layers of security.

In addition to getting new Snort rules from Snort.org and Bleedingsnort.com, you can easily write them yourself. Perhaps you have an obscure application or protocol you need to keep tabs on or want to implement a policy-based IDS. Policy-based is a very powerful concept that works in certain environments where you define all the traffic that is known and allowed, and then alerts on anything else. However, defining what is known and allowed can be very tricky in all but the most simple or very tightly controlled environments, so policy-based IDS is not for everyone.

Read this full article at SearchSecurity

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