What Is Intrusion Detection and Prevention System? Explain it!


The growing relevance of technology and businesses heavy reliant on technological innovations today necessitates ramping up security systems and building strong security postures. Building cybersecurity measures is one thing, keeping check of what flows through the system is another. This is where Intrusion detection and Prevention systems become vital.  Enterprises today must have a core understanding of Intrusion detection system. Through this article, let us understand the basics of prevention systems and intrusion detection systems and learn why intrusion detection and prevention systems are crucial in modern day security landscape.

Understanding Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS)

Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS) can be defined as a system that monitors networks by scanning for possible threats and apprise security administrators, who then prevent potential attacks. The basic functions of IDPS include :

intrusion detection and prevention systems

  • Guarding technical infrastructure and confidential data
  • Evaluate existing security measures, policies, and users
  • Collect network resources and information
  • Assist enterprises comply with regulations

An IDPS performs its task by screening systems and identifying harmful patterns, monitoring user behavior, comparing system files, and checking system patterns. 

Understanding the working mechanism of Intrusion Detection System

The intrusion detection system is a crucial component in the cyber security landscape. IDS are typically designed to prevent digital systems and networks. This system constantly monitors and evaluates the flow of traffic in the networks and activities taking place on different devices. They are the watchdog that keeps eye of the networks and systems to detect any anomalies and suspicious activity potential of harming and launching cyberattacks. It is the first line of defense that detect and informs, allowing cutting down on mean time to detect (MTTD). 

Intrusion detection system in order to detect anomalies in the network uses sophisticated algorithms and pattern-matching techniques. Some of the instances of how suspicious activities are put in checked are-repeated failed login attempts, network traffic surge, harmful code detection, etc. In the event of detecting an anomaly or potential threat, the IDS apprise the system administrators and provides real-time information about the potential threat. There are some IDS solutions equipped with the capability of responding to the threats with human agent working on them. 

Types of Intrusion Detection System (IDS)

There are typically five types of intrusion that caters to the various needs and purposes. 

Network Intrusion Detection System:  This type of Intrusion detection system keeps track of the entire network through one or more contact points. Using this IDS requires installation in a hardware. Once it is installed, it samples every data that passes through it. It is capable of analyzing all inbound and outbound traffic, detecting events in real-time allowing quick response, and can be placed strategically in critical areas. 

Network Node Intrusion Detection System: This is a variant of network intrusion detection system with different function. NNIDS monitors each node that is connected to the network. It has higher speeds and uses lesser system resources, and is easily installable in your current servers. 

Host Intrusion Detection System: This type of IDS runs on independent devices on the network or hosts. They monitor the inbound and outbound packets in the device only and alerts the administrators in the event of any anomalies or suspicious detected. They take snapshots of the assigned system files and make comparisons of the current and past snapshots and identify differences or missing analytical system files. 

Application Protocol-based Intrusion Detection System (APIDS): This types typically resides in a group of servers and specializes in security of software application. This system monitors and interpret the communication that occurs on application-specific protocols. 

Protocol-based Intrusion Detection System (PIDS): This type of IDS is tasked with the job of monitoring the protocol in use. They work by analyzing the HTTP HTTPS protocol steam between servers and devices. They monitor the inbound and outbound traffic of the web server. They consist of a system that resides at the front-end of the server. 

Aside from the Intrusion Detection system within an IDPS, that automates the detection process, the prevention systems in an IDPS further facilitates intercepting of possible threats. Intrusion prevention Systems are another software equipped with all the potential of an IDS and in addition has the capability of preventing or stopping intrusion. 

Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems Detection Methods 

The technologies of Intrusion detection and prevention systems in order to provide accurate and broad detection employ several methods and techniques. The major methods used by IDPS technologies may be explained as here under:

Signature-based Detection: This is a process where signatures are compared with observed events to detect potential attacks. The IDPS has a database or repository of known malware signatures, and it gets updated each a malware is detected. The system alerts of a detection when there is a match in the traffic payload.

Anomaly-based Detection: Here, anomalies are detected through threshold monitoring and profiling. All the normal characteristics and attributes of the apps, hosts, systems and networks are configured and those that deviates from the norm are categorized as anomaly and the system alerts the administrator. 

Protocol-Based Detection: This method employs host or network specific profiles to identify malicious activities. It uses specific protocol databases and blocks any activity that deviates from or violates these protocols. These protocols go through manual configuration by security specialists. 

Overview of Intrusion Prevention Systems

Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) have common characteristics with IDS, with one exceptional difference of having the potential of preventing an intrusion. The Intrusion Prevention systems employ several techniques to respond to intrusion and preventing them from succeeding. The techniques they use may be categorized in the following :

Blocking Access: In this type, the IPS itself stops the intrusion by terminating the network connection used for attack and blocks offender's access to the target, IP address and other factors.

Altering the Configuration: In this method, the Intrusion prevention systems disrupt the attack by reconfiguring the network firewall. It blocks the attacker's access to the target, alters the host-based firewall to block inbound targets. 

Altering the attack content: This method involves the IPS removing or replacing a malicious or infected file to make the attack benign. The IPS in some cases acts as the proxy and normalized inbound requests to the systems or network. In the process, the proxy repackages the request payloads, discarding the header information. This may result in the attacks being discarded as part of the normalization process. 

There are several benefits of employing Intrusion detection and prevention systems for business enterprises or organizations. While threats are often significantly rendered by human intervention, employing Intrusion detection systems and prevention systems allows coherent and quick response and alerts complex threats for bigger interventions. An IDPS enables users to detect threats that may escape human's comprehensive capacity. Also, it aids organizations in adhering to industry regulations and compliance requirements. 

Intrusion detection system and prevention systems are a crucial tool in today's cyber security landscape that organizations must prioritize to ensure safe and secure operation. 

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