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7/22/2010
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DHS Releases Intrusion Detection Software

Suricata, developed by the Department of Homeland Security-funded Open Information Security Foundation, is available under the GPLv2 license.

A Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-funded foundation has released open source software for detection and prevention of network intrusions.

The Open Information Security Foundation (OISF) -- funded by the Navy's space and warfare command, security vendors, and the DHS -- has released source code for the Suricata Engine.

The engine is meant to "bring new ideas and technologies" to the field of intrusion prevention and detection, not merely replace or emulate existing tools, according to the OISF website. Intrusion detection and prevention technology monitors networks for suspicious or malicious activity.

Suricata uses the same ruleset as Snort, another free and open source intrusion detection and prevention technology. However, the group claims on its website that Suricata has "other capabilities above and beyond the standard Snort rulesets."

The Suricata Engine, as well as HTP Library, are available under the GNU General Public License v2. The HTP Library is required for integrating and providing advanced processing of http streams for Suricata. People also can use it independently for other applications and tools, according to the OISF.

As well as being a primary funder, the DHS directorate for science and technology homeland open security technology (HOST) program also oversees OISF. The foundation is meant to engage in "cutting-edge security technology research," according to its website.

The DHS funds numerous IT projects through a variety of grants, and it's likely their backing of OISF was a part of this activity. It's unclear whether the agency plans to use Suricata internally, and DHS spokespeople did not respond immediately to a question about plans to do so.

Security vendors backing the OISF include Everis, Breach Security Labs, and NitroSecurity.

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