Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


11:30 PM
Connect Directly

First Commercial 'Suricata' IDS/IPS Product Debuts

nPulse's new multigigabit-speed appliance based on a DHS-backed open-source IDS/IPS project technology

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- RSA Conference -- A U.S. Department of Homeland Security-funded open-source project to build a new IDS/IPS architecture has emerged from the labs and yielded its first-ever commercial offering, a 10-gigabit-per-second IDS/IPS product from nPulse Technologies.

The new ThreatMeter appliance, rolled out today at the RSA Conference, is based on the so-called Suricata open-source IDS/IPS platform developed by the Open Information Security Foundation (OISF) Consortium, of which nPulse is a member. Suricata, funded by the DHS, aims to create a next-generation, high-speed IDS/IPS platform via an open community, much like the original Snort model.

"We're not trying to compete with or replace Snort. The issue was that DHS wanted something new with Snort, but no one can collaborate with it anymore," says Matt Jonkman, an OISF board member.

At the top of the 10-year-old Snort's list of missing elements that DHS and others want in IDS/IPSes is multithreading, which basically divides up the IDS/IPS workload based on where the processing needs are, Jonkman says. Version 1 of Suricata, which nPulse's ThreatMeter uses, includes multithreading as well as automatic protocol recognition.

"We're not trying to influence the direction of the technology, but letting the community [address] the needs they wanted all along," says Jonkman, CEO and founder of Emerging Threats Pro, which provides the rulesets in Suricata. "IDS/IPS is at the point that it solved the needs for a while, but it hasn't moved forward. And there's not the commercial motivation for vendors to dump their [platforms] and rewrite them. That's why there has not been much advancement and innovation."

Peter Shaw, vice president and co-founder of nPulse, says multithreading is a key feature to higher-speed IDS/IPSes. "When we want high-speed with Snort, we have to use multicore processors with a full instance of Snort on each core," he says.

And when multiple versions of an IDS/IPS are running in this fashion, there's more potential for evasion, OISF's Jonkman says. "With Suricata, you don't lose that global state that's very important at high speeds," he says. "When you have 10 instances of Snort all seeing their own traffic, you're not seeing the big picture."

The automatic protocol recognition feature of Suricata and in nPulse's ThreatMeter lets the IDS/IPS recognize an HTTP data stream, for instance, and automatically apply any rules to it. ThreatMeter uses Napatech's 10-Gbps packet capture and acceleration cards.

Another problem many of today's IDS/IPS systems have is they typically generate false-positives. That's even more problematic when the system is running in-line in the network. Suricata's second phase, now in the planning and development process, will include IP and DNS reputation filtering, which could go a long way in eliminating false-ositives as well as false-negatives, Jonkman says. The OISF is holding a brainstorming session this week at RSA to discuss these and other possible features for the upcoming Suricata version 2.

Aside from nPulse, three other IDS/IPS vendors are adopting Suricata in their engines, says Jonkman, who was unable to name names just yet. "The way the consortium was built is so vendors can maintain and preserve their 'secret sauces' while plugging in Suricata," Jonkman says.

nPulse, meanwhile, is currently taking orders for a 4-Gbps version of ThreatMeter, and is working on the 10-Gbps model in its lab. The company plans to ship the new IDS/IPSes in the second quarter.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/17/2020
Cybersecurity Bounces Back, but Talent Still Absent
Simone Petrella, Chief Executive Officer, CyberVista,  9/16/2020
Meet the Computer Scientist Who Helped Push for Paper Ballots
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/16/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-21
Affected versions of Atlassian Jira Service Desk Server and Data Center allow remote attackers authenticated as a non-administrator user to view Project Request-Types and Descriptions, via an Information Disclosure vulnerability in the editform request-type-fields resource. The affected versions are...
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-21
Affected versions of Atlassian Jira Server and Data Center allow remote attackers to impact the application's availability via a Regex-based Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerability in JQL version searching. The affected versions are before version 7.13.16; from version 7.14.0 before 8.5.7; from versio...
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-21
Affected versions of Atlassian Jira Server and Data Center allow remote, unauthenticated attackers to view custom field names and custom SLA names via an Information Disclosure vulnerability in the /secure/QueryComponent!Default.jspa endpoint. The affected versions are before version 8.5.8, and from...
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-19
An issue was discovered in Tiny Tiny RSS (aka tt-rss) before 2020-09-16. The cached_url feature mishandles JavaScript inside an SVG document.
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-19
** DISPUTED ** Typesetter CMS 5.x through 5.1 allows admins to upload and execute arbitrary PHP code via a .php file inside a ZIP archive. NOTE: the vendor disputes the significance of this report because "admins are considered trustworthy"; however, the behavior "contradicts our secu...