Q

Best practices for IDS creation and signature database maintenance

Mike Chapple offers an alternative to creating an intrusion detection system as well as advice on maintaining a signature database.

We are setting up a project on signature-based intrusion detection systems. What are the best ways to maintain a database of known signatures? Where can we get updated signatures? Also, what are some common best practices when creating an IDS database?
From the tone of your question, it sounds like you might be trying to create your own intrusion detection software. If that's the case, I strongly recommend that you consider the alternatives. There are many excellent products on the market, as well as some free open source alternatives.

For example, the Snort IDS is extremely popular. It's an open source network intrusion detection system that is widely used in the enterprise. As an open source product, Snort is available at no cost and has a large community of developers creating rules.

Sourcefire, the company behind Snort, makes an official ruleset available to Snort users either in real-time (for paid subscribers) or on a 30-day delay (at no charge). This is the best way to obtain a reliable, timely ruleset. If you're using a different IDS product, consult the vendor for details on rulebase subscriptions.

More information:

This was first published in June 2008

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