Intrusion Detection System

An intrusion detection system (IDS) is a security measure that diligently analyses, detects, and reports any unusual activity within your network. IDS can be installed either as software or hardware. Any intrusions detected by the system are collected and reported to an administrator for mitigation proceeds. Commonly, IDS performs by analyzing the operating system audit trails and special computing metrics derived from CPU usage, memory usage, and activities by the various users.

There are four different types of intrusion detection systems, namely.

1.    Network intrusion detection system (NIDS)

2.    Host-based intrusion detection system (HIDS)

3.    Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS)

4.    VM based Intrusion Detection System (VMIDS)

Regardless of the type and the technical process any of the above IDS apply, fundamentally, they are all supposed to operate and fit in the criterion below.

Ability to operate continuously with no human supervision.

The system must be fault-tolerant.

Its knowledge base should be easily tailored to accommodate the different systems it is used on.

It should remain compatible with the system as it changes with time. When new applications and users are added, the system should still be able to adapt and work optimally still.

How do Intrusion Detection Systems Work?

Intrusion Detection Systems work in two ways; signature-based detection and behavior-based detection.

Signature-based detection tracks data activity and compares it to a signature in the database. This mechanism is popular against known threats. For example, an email with an attachment of an already known malware is detected and red-flagged immediately. Signature detection is the most primitive mechanism; it simply compares the traffic to a known database, and if a match is found, an alert is made. Otherwise, traffic flows with no disruptions. A great downfall to this method of detection is that new anomalies lacking in the databases go unnoticed.

Behavior or anomaly-based detection monitors behaviors indicating malicious intents as opposed to searching for patterns against a database. This mechanism of detection applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to pinpoint anomalies. The more superior ability of behavioral detection to identify new anomalies all throughout the physical and virtual Attack surfaces makes it the best defense against network breaches.

Evasion Techniques Hackers use to Trick Detection

As elaborated earlier, Intrusion detection systems use pattern analysis for performance. While signature detection compares to patterns in a database, behavior detection employs computer intelligence to detect deviations from normal patterns. Hackers have thereafter devised ploys that make it possible to trick the IDS into missing harm-ridden threats. Among the tricks are,

Pattern Change – IDS studies patterns to detect anomalies. By making slight changes to the consistency of an attack, detection can be missed

Fragmentation – Sending spread out versions of a malware signature may compromise the ability of an IDS to detect a signature

Coordinated attacks – Some attacks will be coordinated by assigning various ports and hosts to different attackers. An IDS may find it difficult to link that the captured packets work as a unit and network scan is probably in progress

Intrusion Detection Systems vs. Intrusion Prevention Systems

IDS and IPS work similarly in the aspect of detecting intrusion but differ in mitigation. IDS analyses any anomalies and logs them for submission to the system administrator. IPS, however, can be configured to handle and block potential threats.

IPS work much like firewalls, a scenario that has informed IDS/IPS integration to numerous next-generation firewalls. Unfortunately, IPS registers more false positives than IDS because they have inferior detection capabilities, and most firewalls are unable to navigate advanced network security threats.

An Intrusion Detection System is, therefore, key to any organization’s cybersecurity measures. It adds additional defense to network protection

Factors to Consider When Selecting an IDS

There are numerous detection and prevention systems in the market today.  Below are some of the factors to consider when selecting an appropriate one in terms of their optimal technicalities offered.

Signature Updates – Any IDS you choose to purchase ought to support signature modifications and upgrades such as big data analytics, to detect more subtle anomaly

Interoperability – Your top priority tools are those that can easily communicate with other intrusion systems. For best performance, different IDS need to share firewall logs and system logs for better performance

Scalability – This defines the ability of an IDS to accommodate future expansion. In case new applications and users are added to the system, the IDS ought to maintain its task efficiency

Network Support – The business network should be able to accommodate the IDS; special configurations may be required. Also, you need to ensure that the IDS can work on wireless networks as well as wired ones.

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