As businesses grapple with the pandemic, millions of workers are no longer working in the traditional office behind the traditional perimeter. They are working from home, accessing data and network resources using unauthorized devices, unauthorized software and unsecured WiFi.

Research has revealed that almost 50% of US businesses have been hit by a Covid-related attack that has impacted the business. This is where intrusion detection systems (IDS) come in.

As the name implies, an IDS monitors the network for suspicious behavior and issues alerts when such activities are discovered. IDS is able to detect malware (for example trojans, backdoors, rootkits etc.), is also able to detect social engineering attacks (for example man in the middle attacks and phishing) that trick users into disclosing sensitive information. It can also help detect malicious insiders. 

Types of IDS

IDS can be broadly divided into two groups: signature-based and anomaly-based.

A signature-based IDS scans for known malicious signatures and issues alerts when it discovers them. Malware signatures are rapidly evolving, so signature-based IDS needs to be updated regularly with the latest signatures.

An anomaly-based IDS focuses on identifying unusual behaviors or patterns of activities. Anomaly-based IDS is good at identifying a cybercriminal that is probing the network and flags anything that might be considered abnormal, like multiple failed login attempts.

Top 5 open source intrusion detection systems

While most large enterprises have enterprise-grade technology in place, intrusion detection systems are also crucial for small and medium businesses to protect users, internal servers and public cloud environments. If you don’t have a lot of budget at your disposal, open-source intrusion detection tools are worth looking at.

Here are the five best open-source intrusion detection systems on the market currently:

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