Feeds

Sourcefire touts 'smart' network defence

Improved vulnerability detection technology

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Sourcefire, the company founded by the creator of the open source Snort intrusion detection system, has added improved vulnerability detection technology to help customers bolster their security defences.

The real time network analysis offered by its Sourcefire 3D system can place security events in context and thereby help reduce the frequency on false alarms by up to 90 per cent, Sourcefire claims. Users can use the technology to enforce policies based on the correlation of detected threat with network vulnerability and asset data. Sourcefire said its Real-time Network Awareness (RNA) Sensors score over vulnerability scanners because they provide constant feedback through passive detection of network activity rather than the snap shot offered by the "potentially disruptive" scanner approach.

False alarms - such as alerts about Nimda-style attacks launched against Linux server farms - have been the Achilles heel of intrusion detection systems, the network equivalent of burglar alarms. In response the industry has moved towards intrusion prevention systems (IPS) which automatically block a subset of well-understood attacks.

Martin Roesch, founder and CTO of Sourcefire and creator of Snort, said that intrusion prevention and firewall technologies would converge. Firewalls alone can't deal with problems like Nimda-style worms spreading across internal networks and stand-alone intrusion prevention technology fails to defend against anything other than well-known attacks, Roesch argued. "Intrusion prevention is a partial solution because the technology is purely signature based or, in the case of defending against DDoS attacks, rate based. Use of the technology can also creates a bottleneck on the network," Roesch told El Reg. He contrasted the intrusion prevention technology with Sourcefire 3D's learn, block and correct approach. "Users could put our sensors inline if they wanted to. We can deliver intrusion prevention by other means," he said.

Firewalls were traditionally designed to guard against network-level attacks - such as IP spoofing and port/network scans - but as more sophisticated application-layer attacks, such as worms and exploits of known software vulnerabilities, have become increasingly common a need has arisen to rejig corporate defences. That much is common ground between Sourcefire and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) vendors.

Leading IPS vendors, such as Top Layer, argue that rather than loading extra application-aware intelligence into firewalls better performance can be obtained by using standalone intrusion detection and prevention, such as its Attack Mitigator IPS 5500. It would argue its hardware-based technology is superior at automatically blocking attacks.

Sourcefire 3D, released in the US earlier this quarter, is available in Europe from today (28 October). System prices start at approximately $40,000. ®

Related stories

IPS firm TippingPoint launches European offensive
NetScreen touts firewall brawn
Cisco buys anti-DDoS firm
Don't put app protection on your firewall, Mr Jones (in praise of standalone IPS appliances)

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?