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There is a myriad of security technology, both open-source and commercial, available for monitoring an organization’s network for intrusions. An important part of an organization’s defense strategy is the ability to detect suspicious activities in order to prevent both internal and external threats as well as identify malicious attacks. Snort is a popular, successful, and the most widely deployed monitoring tool. Snort is a Network Intrusion Prevention System (NIPS) and Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS) capable of performing packet logging and real-time traffic analyses on IP networks. Snort is also valuable because it can detect attackers and malware as they move through the network. When coupled with a database and a web front-end, users can obtain insights into their network and apply the information to detect attacks and fortify their networks. Snort can be combined with other software to provide a visual representation of intrusion data.

Are you currently researching the different types of front-end GUIs for Snort IDS or looking for an alternative GUI for Snort? In this blog, we will introduce several popular Snort front-end GUIs.

An Overview of GUIs for Snort IDS

Introduction to ACID
According to Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov, a well-known Senior Internet Security Analyst at BASF Corporation, “The Analysis Console for Intrusion Databases (ACID) is a rather slow PHP-based analysis engine to search and process the database of security events generated by Snort. It is mostly useful as a generic event viewing tool. ACID was written by Roman Danyliw in early 2000 as part of an abandoned in 2003 AIRCERT project at the CERT Coordination Center.” The features of ACID includes alert management, chart and statistics generation, packet viewer and query-builder, and search interface. ACID’s biggest limitation, however, is that it is not scalable beyond several thousand alerts and often produces numerous amounts of false positives. ACID is also very helpful in the analysis of traffic if only used on small- to medium-streams of alerts. As reported by Dr. Bezroukov, these important shortcomings does diminish ACID’s technology value.

Introduction to BASE
BASE is the Basic Analysis and Security Engine that is supported by a group of volunteers. It is an extremely simple web-based Snort console derived from the code from the Analysis Console for Intrusion Databases (ACID) project. This application provides a web front-end to query and analyze the alerts coming from a Snort IDS. BASE searches and processes databases containing security events logged by assorted network monitoring tools such as firewalls and IDS programs. It is written in the PHP programming language and displays information from a database as user-friendly web front-end. According to Snort.org, there were plans for a redesign of BASE, including the database format from which it reads, but Kevin Johnson, the original BASE project manager, has since left the project and turned the project over to new management.

Introduction to Snorby
Snorby is an open source network security monitoring interface scripted in Ruby on Rails. It is a front-end web application for any application that logs events in the Unified2 binary output format. Snorby now supports OpenFPC and integrates with intrusion detection systems like Snort, Suricata, and Sagan. The basic fundamental concept behind Snorby is simplicity. The project goal is to create a free, open source.

Introduction to SGUIL
The Analyst Console for Network Security Monitoring – Sguil is built by network security analysts for network security analysts. Sguil’s main component is an intuitive GUI that provides access to real-time events, session data, and raw packet captures. Sguil facilitates the practice of Network Security Monitoring and event driven analysis. The Sguil client is written in tcl/tk and can be run on any operating system that supports tcl/tk (including Linux, *BSD, Solaris, MacOS, and Win32).

Introduction to Aanval
OpenAanval was originally a very simple web front-end to monitor and browse Snort event data. It was the stand-alone free limited-version of the commercial Aanval console before it was finally integrated in 2005 and is the alternative to ACID as the front-end. Aanval was then publicly released in 2004 and is considered the longest running Snort interface under continuous development on the market today and the industry’s leading web-based GUI for Snort, Suricata, and Syslog intrusion detection, prevention, and correlation. The Aanval console system is specifically designed to scale from small single-sensor installations to global enterprise deployments. Since Aanval’s release in 2004, Aanval has evolved to address the world’s growing network security intrusion detection needs and demands. Over time, there has been an increasing need to keep up with the complexity of security issues, introduction of new security technologies, evolving cyber threats, and the requirements to comply with mandatory regulatory mandates. Equally increasing is the drive for security managers to find a capable Snort front-end GUI that can deliver effective threat management, event correlation, and advanced data analysis reporting. Aanval SAS (Situational Awareness System), the latest version released by Tactical FLEX, Inc. is designed with a unique Situational Awareness engine that provides an in-depth event and architecture analysis of the host network, thus providing crucial network visibility and security intelligence. Aanval SAS is also equipped with a False Positive Protection event validation engine, real-time Live GeoLocation-based displays and powerful offensive tools utilizing Nmap that help shore up defenses and strengthen overall security posture. In addition to commercial Aanval, Aanval also continues to support the Snort community by providing users with a free community version of Aanval that allows full functionality of a single Snort and syslog sensor. Aanval SAS is available for download as a free Community edition for testing and evaluation at http://www.aanval.com/download.

About Tactical FLEX, Inc.
For nearly a decade, Tactical FLEX, Inc. has taken great pride in providing best-of-breed security solutions to every type of organization around the world. Our wide spectrum of customers demonstrates our sincere commitment to an industry that remains at the forefront of the digital evolution of the world. Information security is our business, and our customers are our greatest asset. Tactical FLEX, Inc. is a trusted security vendor protecting more than 6,000 organizations within every industry in more than 100 countries. Our product Aanval® is the industry’s most comprehensive Snort and Syslog Intrusion Detection, Correlation, and Threat Management console on the market. Learn more about Aanval SAS (Situational Awareness System) by visiting http://www.aanval.com.