Friday, October 7, 2011

IDS\IPS 101-4

A HIDS (host based intrusion detection system) is installed directly on the server, and it's responsibility is to protect the system. The HIDS does not monitor traffic on the interface(s). Instead, it monitors it's application logs (such as Apache or IIS), and system logs (like the event logs on a Windows machine or syslog on a Linux box). Another important task of a HIDS is to check for changes to critical system files and alert when they have been modified (in the same manner as Tripwire). A HIDS will have a signature set, similar to the network IDS, that looks for strings associated with exploits being levied against the server. Since the packets reaching the host must be complete and formatted correctly, many of the evasion tactics used on the wire to bypass the NIDS will not be effective against the HIDS engine (such as fragmented packets with overlapping offsets, low TTL packets added to thwart the reassembly on the NIDS but dropped before they reach the destination, malformed packets for the same reason, etc.) A balanced, defense-in-depth security posture should include a HIDS on each public facing server at a minimum. Another good place to deploy host based detection is on critical systems such as database servers, human resources/payroll, servers that store PII (personally identifiable information) of clients or employees, and domain controllers and name servers.

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