PortSentry for attack detection, part one

Thursday, 16 May 2002, 12:33 PM EST

Portsentry by Psionic Technologies is a component of their TriSentry suite of attack detection tools: portsentry, hostsentry, and logsentry . This article is the first of a two-part series that will describe in detail how Portsentry works from both a theoretical and a technical point of view.The second article will discuss installing, configuring, and tailoring PortSentry for individual.

The basic theory behind PortSentry operation revolves around the detection of scans on a host and the response that should be implemented in response to those scans. This is one reason why PortSentry should be classified as an "attack detection" tool. A network or system scan serves as a precursor to an attack and possible intrusion. Unless the attacker knows beforehand which ports are open or available on a system, they will initiate a scan to determine what services the host is running. This is where PortSentry comes into play. This tool monitors the TCP and UDP ports on a system and, depending on how the system is configured, will respond appropriately to an identified scan.

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