The long and short of snort intrusion detection

Friday, 18 July 2003, 9:33 AM EST

Intrusion-detection systems (IDS) have a mixed reputation in the world of enterprise IT. Many IDSs have been accused of being overly sensitive and flooding system administrators with false alerts. They are also notoriously tough to manage. On the other hand, such vendors as Symantec and Network Associates have gone out of their way to gobble up makers of intrusion-detection products, believing that they will become a must-have for an organization's security arsenal.

In the meantime, however, many organizations are still on the fence about intrusion detection. For them, the answer may lie with a product called "Snort," an open-source IDS distributed under the GNU GPL license by Martin Roesch, its creator. Snort allows IT organizations to start detecting intruders on the cheap, and it is a powerful program with a large following. But Snort is far from perfect, and potential users need to be aware of both its strengths and weaknesses.

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