Networks have been there for long and are certainly a boon as they have brought the world and people within, closer to one other. With the networks; however, the risk of intrusion is also a reality. As a response to intrusion, came the idea of intrusion detection.
An Intrusion Detection System (IDS) constantly tracks all incoming and outgoing activities within the network and figures out any intrusion sign or suspicious activity in the system that may compromise the system’s security and well being. Its primary objective is to produce an alert when it senses any suspicious activity. Therefore, it is also called the passive monitoring system. An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is a step ahead of IDS with its capability to not only notice anomalies but also stop such activities within a company’s network. In this article, we will discuss how to keep your systems safe with an Intrusion Detection System.
About Intrusion Detection System
Intrusion Detection System (IDS) is a software or application or device, having the capability to monitor the whole network traffic and provide alerts to the system user or administrator upon detection of any unauthorized attempts, breaches or access. It is different from a firewall in the sense that it emphasizes monitoring the traffic related to the internal network to recognize any malicious activity. This enables IDS to notice attacks that trick the firewall, as well as the attacks coming from within the network.
As a standard, IDS solutions are mainly composed of a unique detection that matches the traffic against a known attacks/techniques database, and anomaly-based detection that just examines suspicious behavior or activity that is radically different from the defined norm to identify threats.
The Technical Info
The IDS may either be:
- put strategically over the network as a NIDS (network-based intrusion detection) that uses hardware sensors fixed at strategic points on the company’s network or
- installed on the system computers linked with the network to examine inbound and outbound network data or
- installed on every individual system like a HIDS (host-based intrusion detection)
It is to be noted that HIDS has the benefit of being able to notice any changes or efforts to change the system files or any doubtful activity coming from the organization. They apply anomaly or signature-based detection techniques to determine the threats.
Keeping Your System Safe with IDS
Aside from giving suspicious activity alerts, IDS can also organize rules, SOPs and required actions for producing the alerts. It can also be categorized into NIPS (network intrusion prevention system) put at definite points on the network to track and defend the network from nasty activity, or HIPS (host intrusion prevention system) that is applied on each host to track its activities and take essential actions to detect anomalous behavior. Using a unique or anomaly-based detection technique, IDS can:
- Monitor and assess threats, catch burglars and take real-time actions to prevent such instances that antivirus software or firewall may miss.
- Stop DoS/DDoS attacks.
- Maintain the confidentiality of users as IDS reads the network activity just when it senses an activity matching the list of identified malicious activities.
- Prevent attacks on the SSL protocol or stop attempts to determine open ports on hosts.
- Detect and stop OS fingerprinting attempts used by hackers to unlock the OS of the target system to start specific exploits.
The Network IDS Alerts
Though Network IDS is a comprehensive security measure; yet following certain principles will help you use NIDS more effectively. During the monitoring and analysis of network traffic to detect suspicious behaviors or activities, the system might have false positives and false negatives. Hence, you must have a dedicated and knowledgeable IT personnel who can take timely and appropriate actions based on the NIDS alerts.