Types of Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)

Intrusion detection systems (IDS) can be classified into different ways. The major classifications are Active and passive IDS, Network Intrusion detection systems (NIDS) and host Intrusion detection systems (HIDS)

Active and passive IDS

An active Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) is also known as Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS). Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS) is configured to automatically block suspected attacks without any intervention required by an operator. Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS) has the advantage of providing real-time corrective action in response to an attack.

A passive IDS is a system that’s configured to only monitor and analyze network traffic activity and alert an operator to potential vulnerabilities and attacks. A passive IDS is not capable of performing any protective or corrective functions on its own.

Network Intrusion detection systems (NIDS) and Host Intrusion detection systems (HIDS)

Network Intrusion Detection Systems (NIDS) usually consists of a network appliance (or sensor) with a Network Interface Card (NIC) operating in promiscuous mode and a separate management interface. The IDS is placed along a network segment or boundary and monitors all traffic on that segment.

A Host Intrusion Detection Systems (HIDS) and software applications (agents) installed on workstations which are to be monitored. The agents monitor the operating system and write data to log files and/or trigger alarms. A host Intrusion detection systems (HIDS) can only monitor the individual workstations on which the agents are installed and it cannot monitor the entire network. Host based IDS systems are used to monitor any intrusion attempts on critical servers.

The drawbacks of Host Intrusion Detection Systems (HIDS) are

• Difficult to analyse the intrusion attempts on multiple computers.

• Host Intrusion Detection Systems (HIDS) can be very difficult to maintain in large networks with different operating systems and configurations

• Host Intrusion Detection Systems (HIDS) can be disabled by attackers after the system is compromised.

Knowledge-based (Signature-based) IDS and behavior-based (Anomaly-based) IDS

A knowledge-based (Signature-based) Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) references a database of previous attack signatures and known system vulnerabilities. The meaning of word signature, when we talk about Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) is recorded evidence of an intrusion or attack. Each intrusion leaves a footprint behind (e.g., nature of data packets, failed attempt to run an application, failed logins, file and folder access etc.). These footprints are called signatures and can be used to identify and prevent the same attacks in the future. Based on these signatures Knowledge-based (Signature-based) IDS identify intrusion attempts.

The disadvantages of Signature-based Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) are signature database must be continually updated and maintained and Signature-based Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) may fail to identify a unique attacks.

A Behavior-based (Anomaly-based) Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) references a baseline or learned pattern of normal system activity to identify active intrusion attempts. Deviations from this baseline or pattern cause an alarm to be triggered.

Higher false alarms are often related with Behavior-based Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS).

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