Intrusion Prevention and Active Response. Deploying Network and Host IPS


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Even though stateful packet filtering firewalls do a good job, they are not as flexible or as robust as regular packet-filtering firewalls. Incorporating a dynamic state table and other features into the firewall makes the architecture more complex, which directly slows the speed of operation.

This appears to users as a decrease in network performance speed. In addition, stateful packet filtering firewalls cannot completely access higher-layer protocols and application services for inspection. The difference between stateful packet-filtering firewalls and simple packet-filtering firewalls is that stateful packet filtering tracks the entire conversation, while packet filtering looks at only the current packet. Stateful inspections occur at all levels of the network and provide additional security, especially in connectionless protocols, such as User Datagram Protocol and Internet Control Message Protocol.

Proxy firewalls aim for the Application layer in the OSI model for their operations. Such proxies can be deployed in between a remote user who might be on a public network such as the internet and the dedicated server on the internet. A proxy firewall can be an effective shielding and filtering mechanism between public networks and protected internal or private networks.

Because applications are shielded by the proxy and actions take place at the application level, these firewalls are very effective for sensitive applications. Authentication schemes, such as passwords and biometrics, can be set up for accessing the proxies, which fortifies security implementations. This proxy system enables you to set a firewall to accept or reject packets based on addresses, port information and application information.

For instance, you can set the firewall to filter out all incoming packets belonging to EXE files, which are often infected with viruses and worms.

Proxy firewalls generally keep very detailed logs, including information on the data portions of packets. The main disadvantage in using application proxy firewalls is speed. Because these firewall activities take place at the application level and involve a large amount of data processing, application proxies are constrained by speed and cost.

Nevertheless, application proxies offer some of the best security of all the firewall technologies. Web application firewalls are built to provide web applications security by applying a set of rules to an HTTP conversation. Because applications are online, they have to keep certain ports open to the internet. This means attackers can try specific website attacks against the application and the associated database, such as cross-site scripting XSS and SQL injection.

While proxy firewalls generally protect clients, WAFs protect servers. Another great feature of WAFs is that they detect distributed denial of service DDoS attacks in their early stages, absorb the volume of traffic and identify the source of the attack. An IDS enhances cybersecurity by spotting a hacker or malicious software on a network so you can remove it promptly to prevent a breach or other problems, and use the data logged about the event to better defend against similar intrusion incidents in the future.

Investing in an IDS that enables you respond to attacks quickly can be far less costly than rectifying the damage from an attack and dealing with the subsequent legal issues. From time to time, attackers will manage to compromise other security measures, such as cryptography, firewalls and so on. It is crucial that information about these compromises immediately flow to administrators — which can be easily accomplished using an intrusion detection system.

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Deploying an IDS can also help administrators proactively identify vulnerabilities or exploits that a potential attacker could take advantage of. Intrusion detection systems can be grouped into the following categories:. Host-based IDSs are designed to monitor, detect and respond to activity and attacks on a given host.

In most cases, attackers target specific systems on corporate networks that have confidential information. They will often try to install scanning programs and exploit other vulnerabilities that can record user activity on a particular host. Some host-based IDS tools provide policy management, statistical analytics and data forensics at the host level.

Host-based IDSs are best used when an intruder tries to access particular files or other services that reside on the host computer. Because attackers mainly focus on operating system vulnerabilities to break into hosts, in most cases, the host-based IDS is integrated into the operating systems that the host is running. Network traffic based IDSs capture network traffic to detect intruders. Most often, these systems work as packet sniffers that read through incoming traffic and use specific metrics to assess whether a network has been compromised.

Frequently, intrusion detection systems have difficulty working with encrypted information and traffic from virtual private networks. Speed over 1Gbps is also a constraining factor, although modern and costly network-based IDSs have the capability to work fast over this speed. Cooperative agents are one of the most important components of a distributed intrusion detection architecture. An agent is an autonomous or semi-autonomous piece of software that runs in the background and performs useful tasks for another.

2 2 Comparing Traditional and Next Generation Intrusion Prevention Systems IPS

Relative to IDSs, an agent is generally a piece of software that senses intrusions locally and reports attack information to central analysis servers. The cooperative agents can form a network among themselves for data transmission and processing. The use of multiple agents across a network allows a broader view of the network than might be possible with a single IDS or centralized IDSs. An IPS is a network security tool that can not only detect intruders, but also prevent them from successfully launching any known attack. Intrusion prevention systems combine the abilities of firewalls and intrusion detection systems.

However, implementing an IPS on an effective scale can be costly, so businesses should carefully assess their IT risks before making the investment. Moreover, some intrusion prevention systems are not as fast and robust as some firewalls and intrusion detection systems, so an IPS might not be an appropriate solution when speed is an absolute requirement.

One important distinction to make is the difference between intrusion prevention and active response. An active response device dynamically reconfigures or alters network or system access controls, session streams or individual packets based on triggers from packet inspection and other detection devices.

Help improve detection of advanced threats

Active response happens after the event has occurred; thus, a single packet attack will be successful on the first attempt but will be blocked in future attempts; for example, a DDoS attack will be successful on the first packets but will be blocked afterwards. While active response devices are beneficial, this one aspect makes them unsuitable as an overall solution.

Network intrusion prevention devices, on the other hand, are typically inline devices on the network that inspect packets and make decisions before forwarding them on to the destination. This type of device has the ability to defend against single packet attacks on the first attempt by blocking or modifying the attack inline. Most important, an IPS must perform packet inspection and analysis at wire speed.

Intrusion prevention systems should be performing detailed packet inspection to detect intrusions, including application-layer and zero-day attacks.

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Intrusion Prevention System: First Line of Defense

System or host intrusion prevention devices are also inline at the operating system level. They have the ability to intercept system calls, file access, memory access, processes and other system functions to prevent attacks. There are several intrusion prevention technologies, including the following:. There are several risks when deploying intrusion prevention technologies. On some occasions, legitimate traffic will display characteristics similar to malicious traffic.

This could be anything from inadvertently matching signatures to uncharacteristically high traffic volume. Even a finely tuned IDS can present false positives when this occurs. When intrusion prevention is involved, false positives can create a denial-of-service DoS condition for legitimate traffic. In addition, attackers who discover or suspect the use of intrusion prevention methods can purposely create a DoS attack against legitimate networks and sources by sending attacks with spoofed source IP addresses. A simple mitigation to some DoS conditions is to use a whitelisting policy.


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Session sniping system identification is another concern when deploying active response IPSs. When systems terminate sessions with RST packets, an attacker might be able to discover not only that an IPS is involved but also the type of underlying system. Readily available passive operating system identification tools analyze packets to determine the underlying operating system. Another risk with active response IPSs involves gateway interaction timing and race conditions.


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In this scenario, a detection device directs a router or firewall to block the attempted attack. However, because of network latency, the attack has already passed the gateway device before it receives this direction from the detection device. A similar situation could occur with a scenario that creates a race condition on the gateway device itself between the attack and the response.

Intrusion prevention and active response deploying network and host ips

In either case, the attack has a high chance of succeeding. When deploying an IPS, you should carefully monitor and tune your systems and be aware of the risks involved. You should also have an in-depth understanding of your network, its traffic, and both its normal and abnormal characteristics.

It is always recommended to run IPS and active response technologies in test mode for a while to thoroughly understand their behavior. To avoid MAC address spoofing, some higher-end WIDPSes like Cisco ones are able to analyze the unique radio frequency signatures that wireless devices generate and block unknown radio fingerprints. When you find the rogue wireless mobile access point, you can suppress its signal by your access points.

In addition to providing a layer of security for wireless LANS, WIDPSes are also useful for monitoring network performance and discovering access points with configuration errors. Unified threat management UTM is an approach to information security in which a single hardware or software installation provides multiple security functions intrusion prevention, antivirus, content filtering and so forth.

This contrasts with the traditional method of having point solutions for each security function. UTM simplifies information-security management because the security administrator has a single management and reporting point rather than having to juggle multiple products from different vendors. UTM appliances have quickly gained popularity, partly because the all-in-one approach simplifies installation, configuration and maintenance.

Such a setup saves time, money and people when compared to the management of multiple security systems. Here are the features that a UTM can provide:. IT Service Management. Application Management. All Products. View All Network Management Products.

Intrusion Prevention and Active Response. Deploying Network and Host IPS Intrusion Prevention and Active Response. Deploying Network and Host IPS
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Intrusion Prevention and Active Response. Deploying Network and Host IPS Intrusion Prevention and Active Response. Deploying Network and Host IPS
Intrusion Prevention and Active Response. Deploying Network and Host IPS Intrusion Prevention and Active Response. Deploying Network and Host IPS
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