The Best Open Source Network Intrusion Detection Tools


In today’s world data is the most valuable thing to an organization, and any compromise in security would result in great controversy for a company. Cyber criminals and hackers are always in search of finding a new way to compromise a network,therefore multi-tiered approach to an network security engineer is an urgent necessity.An Intrusion Detection System (IDS), is used to detect network vulnerabilities exploits against a target computer or applications. Any unusual activity is reported to administrator using security information and event management system (SIEM).

There are variety of IDSs available, ranging from antivirus to hierarchical systems,which montior network traffic. Some of them are listed below:

  • NIDS: Network intrusion detection system are placed at highly strategic points within network to monitor inbound and outbound traffic.But again,scanning all traffics would lead to a bottleneck like situation, which impacts overall speed of network.
  • HIDS : Host intrusion detection system run on different machines or devices in the network , and safeguard networks from overall threats coming from world.
  • Signature Based IDS: Signature based IDS systems monitor all packets in network and compare them against the database of signatures,which are pre-configured and pre-determined attack patterns .
  • Anomaly based IDS :The IDS monitors the network traffic and compare it with the existing databases.The IDS alerts the adminstrator against all sorts of unusual activity.
  • Passive IDS : This IDS system does the simple job of detection and alerting . It just alerts the adminstrator for any kind of threat and blocks the concerned activity as a kind of selective measure.


TOP 4 Network Intrusion Detection Tools :

  • Snort: Snort is a free and open source tool developed in 1998.Snort can detect various attacks like buffer overflow, stealth port scans, SMB probes,OS fingerprinting attempts etc.. It is supported by number of hardware platforms.Pros :
      • Free to Download
      • Easy to write rules for intrusion detection.
      • Highly flexible and Dynamic
      • Good community support for solving problems.
  • Security Onion : Security Onion is linux based distribuiton for intrusion detection.Security onion has three main functions, namely :Full packet capture,Network based and host based intrusion detection systems &Powerfull analysis tools.
    • Pros :
      • Highly flexible.
      • Consist of pre-installed sensor management tools,traffic analyzers and packet sniffers.
      • Has regular updates to improve security levels.
  • OpenWIPS-NG : OpenWIPS- NG is a free wireless and intrusion detection system that relies on wireless intrusion detection and relies on sensors,servers &inerfaces.
    • Pros:
      • Modular and plugin based.
      • Software and hardware required can be built on DIYers.
      • Additional features are supported via use of plugins.
  • AIDE: Advanced intrusion detection Environment was developed by Ram Lahiti and Pablo Virolenin. It is regarded as one of the most powerful tools for monitoring.Some of the most powerful features of this IDS are :
    • Supports all kind of messege digest algorithm like MD5,SHA1,SHA256 and SHA 512.
    • Supports POSIX ACL, SELinux and extended file system.
    • Powerful regular expression support to include or exclude files and directories for monitoring.

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