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.

Attacks/Breaches

5/11/2007
07:15 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

IDS in Mid-Morph

Interop Las Vegas session to map out evolving capabilities of intrusion detection systems

Intrusion detection systems (IDS) technology isn't dead -- it's just gradually being retooled, according to an IDS/IPS expert who will present his findings at an upcoming conference.

Gene Schultz, author of Intrusion Detection and Prevention, and CISO and CTO of High Tower Software, will outline the future of intrusion detection technology, including intrusion prevention systems (IPS), on May 22 at Interop, a tradeshow and conference owned by CMP Technology, which also publishes Dark Reading.

Although he doesn't expect IDS to ever shake its beleaguered signature-based technology altogether, he sees several trends in how the technology is being augmented to better help organizations protect their networks and data.

"The product isn't really changing, but its use is," Schultz says, although it will look different in the future.

IDS/IPS technology has been behind the eight ball for a long time, unable to keep pace with new forms of attack. Some experts have even dismissed it as irrelevant, or stranded investment. (See IPS: Still Playing Catch Up and IDS/IPS: Too Many Holes?)

But Schultz says there are already signs of new life. For one thing, IDS data is being used as part of intelligence-collection for forensics, he says. "People are gathering a wide range of data about behavior in machines, the state of memory, etc… and combining it to find patterns of attacks. Intrusion detection is one rendition of going more toward the route of intelligence-collection. Instead of focusing on micro-details like packet dumps, [security analysts] are looking at patterns of activity through intensive system and network analysis on a global scale, to determine what the potential threats are."

Schultz attributes this to a new breed of intrusion detection analyst, "more like an intelligence analyst, especially in the government."

Another trend in how IDS is being used is in more sophisticated data "fusion," he says, as in event correlation. "You get valuable output from firewalls, IPSs, routers, that can fill in the pieces of knowledge about patterns of attacks."

Pattern-matching events from different devices can help compensate for shortcomings in individual tools. "The best single source of intrusion detection [data] is the firewall, but there's such an overwhelming problem to inspect firewall data. And firewall logs don't lie."

With input from IDS, IPS, firewalls, DNS servers, and Web server events, "you can start to get a good picture of patterns of activity in your network. A combination of these is the intrusion detection system of tomorrow."

ArcSight, Cisco, and Schultz's company, High Tower, all offer these types of event correlation tools. And Sourcefire's Snort has a strong event correlation engine as well, he notes.

Schultz says he expects IDS/IPS products to be packaged with honeynet technology as well, which will let you record what attackers are trying to do. "Some vendors have had honeypot capabilities built into their products for years now," including NFR Security Inc., he notes.

"It lets you recognize motives, methods, and what machines they are targeting -- all very useful in staving off new waves of attacks."

Neural networks and data mining are two other areas Schultz expects intrusion detection to expand into -- neural network technology for finding patterns in events that are detected and having the intelligence to stop an attack; and data mining for things like spotting slow and gradual attacks. "One of the current limitations of intrusion detection is it can only tell you what's happening now. I expect intrusion detection of the future to not only do real-time correlation of events, but also do sophisticated data mining" to detect stealthy, slower attacks.

"A lot of attacks begin with some kind of vulnerability scan and reconnaissance. Then comes some kind of attack directed to exploit the vulnerabilities."

When these attacks are spread out over weeks, for example, it's tougher to spot them and connect the dots, he says. That's where data mining would come in.

And Schultz says he thinks a name change for IDS/IPS may be in order in the future, especially since the tools have historically gotten such a bad rap: "IDS should probably be 'attack analysis and detection.' "

The good news, he feels, is that many IDS systems are already becoming less reliant on signatures, and using rule-based engines instead. "This generation of IDSs is getting better."

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • ArcSight Inc.
  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)
  • High Tower Software Inc.
  • NFR Security Inc.

    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
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
    Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
    Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
    Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon
    Current Issue
    7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
    This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
    Flash Poll
    2019 Online Malware and Threats
    2019 Online Malware and Threats
    As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2019-18216
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-20
    ** DISPUTED ** The BIOS configuration design on ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GM501GS laptops with BIOS 313 relies on the main battery instead of using a CMOS battery, which reduces the value of a protection mechanism in which booting from a USB device is prohibited. Attackers who have physical laptop access ...
    CVE-2019-18214
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
    The Video_Converter app 0.1.0 for Nextcloud allows denial of service (CPU and memory consumption) via multiple concurrent conversions because many FFmpeg processes may be running at once. (The workload is not queued for serial execution.)
    CVE-2019-18202
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
    Information Disclosure is possible on WAGO Series PFC100 and PFC200 devices before FW12 due to improper access control. A remote attacker can check for the existence of paths and file names via crafted HTTP requests.
    CVE-2019-18209
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
    templates/pad.html in Etherpad-Lite 1.7.5 has XSS when the browser does not encode the path of the URL, as demonstrated by Internet Explorer.
    CVE-2019-18198
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
    In the Linux kernel before 5.3.4, a reference count usage error in the fib6_rule_suppress() function in the fib6 suppression feature of net/ipv6/fib6_rules.c, when handling the FIB_LOOKUP_NOREF flag, can be exploited by a local attacker to corrupt memory, aka CID-ca7a03c41753.