Published on Feb 21, 2020
It is very important that the security mechanisms of a system are designed so as to prevent unauthorized access to system resources and data. However, completely preventing breaches of security appear, at present, unrealistic. We can, however, try to detect these intrusion attempts so that action may be taken to repair the damage later. This field of research is called Intrusion Detection.
Anderson, while introducing the concept of intrusion detection in 1980, defined an intrusion attempt or a threat to be the potential possibility of a deliberate unauthorized attempt to:-
b.manipulate information, or
c.render a system unreliable or unusable.
Since then, several techniques for detecting intrusions have been studied. This paper discusses why intrusion detection systems are needed, the main techniques, present research in the field, and possible future directions of research.
There are two ways to handle subversion attempts. One way is to prevent subversion itself by building a completely secure system. We could, for example, require all users to identify and authenticate themselves; we could protect data by various cryptographic methods and very tight access control mechanisms. However this is not really feasible because:-
1. In practice, it is not possible to build a completely secure system because bug free software is still a dream, & no-one seems to want to make the effort to try to develop such software.Apart from the fact that we do not seem to be getting our money's worth when we buy software, there are also security implications when our E-mail software, for example, can be attacked. Designing and implementing a totally secure system is thus an extremely difficult task.
2. The vast installed base of systems worldwide guarantees that any transition to a secure system, (if it is ever developed) will be long in coming.
3. Cryptographic methods have their own problems. Passwords can be cracked, users can lose their passwords, and entire crypto-systems can be broken.
4. Even a truly secure system is vulnerable to abuse by insiders who abuse their privileges.
5. It has been seen that that the relationship between the level of access control and user efficiency is an inverse one, which means that the stricter the mechanisms, the lower the efficiency becomes.
If there are attacks on a system, we would like to detect them as soon as possible (preferably in real-time) and take appropriate action. This is essentially what an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) does. An IDS does not usually take preventive measures when an attack is detected; it is a reactive rather than pro-active agent. It plays the role of an informant rather than a police officer.
The most popular way to detect intrusions has been by using the audit data generated by the operating system
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