RangerIDS - Intrusion Detection System (IDS)





RangerIDS is and IDS System now integrated into ITech Frontiers Secure Suite, supporting Linux and BSD Systems.


Whenever a company connects its network to the Internet, it opens up a whole can of worms regarding security. As the network grows, it will play host to numerous bugs and security loop holes of which you have never heard - but you can bet intruders have.  


Many organizations are recognising the value of a good security policy to define what is and is not allowed in terms of network and Internet access. Then they deploy a number of tools to enforce that security policy – usually in the form of a firewall or two.


Firewalls may be billed as commodity items, but the “shrink wrap” element certainly doesn’t extend to their configuration. A detailed knowledge of what a hacker can do and what should and shouldn’t be allowed through the firewall is required before embarking on the configuration adventure, and a slip of the mouse is all it takes to open up a hole big enough for your average hacker to drive the proverbial bus through. The problem is, a badly configured firewall can be worse than no firewall at all, since it will engender a false sense of security. 


To protect an organization completely, therefore, it is necessary to provide a second line of defense, and in order to achieve this, an entire category of software exists in the form of Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS). 


When it comes to computer and network security, there are a number of analogies that can be drawn with the “real world”. Such analogies are particularly useful for answering such questions as “I already have a firewall, why do I need Intrusion Detection Systems as well?”. 


Depending on how you approach the security of your home, for example, you may opt for high quality locks on your doors and windows. That will help to keep intruders out, and could be thought of as the equivalent of the firewall – perimeter defenses. It’s nice to feel secure, but the determined burglar can often find ways around these measures. He can always throw a brick through your back window, for instance, and get in that way – or perhaps you simply forget to lock your door one day.  


Once he is inside your home he is free to wreak havoc, perhaps making it obvious he has been there by stealing or wrecking things, or perhaps simply taking copies of any keys he finds so he can come and go later at his leisure. Whatever happens, you don’t want your first knowledge of the break-in to be when you return home to the ransacked contents.  


That is why many people install a burglar alarm as well. Should the intruder gain access through the perimeter defenses, the burglar alarm alerts you or your neighbours to the break in immediately, and provides an additional deterrent to the would-be thieves.  


IDS, therefore, are the equivalent of the burglar alarm. To be used alongside firewalls, they are a recognition of the fact that you can never have a 100 per cent secure system. However, should someone be clever enough to breach your perimeter defenses, you want to know about it as soon as possible.  


It would also be nice to know what they have been up to while they were inside too. Intrusion Detection and Vulnerability Assessment are becoming increasingly important as the stakes become higher. In the 1980s and early 1990s, denial-of-service (DoS) attacks were infrequent and not considered serious. Today, successful DoS attacks can shut down e-commerce-based organizations like online stockbrokers and retail sites. 


Within the IDS market place there are four broad categories of product: