An intrusion prevention system (IPS) is a network security tool (which can be hardware or software) that continuously monitors a network for malicious activity and prevents it by reporting, blocking, or dropping it when it occurs.
IPS typically logs data pertaining to observed events, notifies security administrators of significant observed events, and generates reports. Many IPS can also attempt to prevent a detected threat from succeeding in its mission. They employ various response techniques, such as the IPS to stop the attack itself, alter the security environment, or alter the content of the attack.
The Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) has 4 categories.
- The Network-based Intrusion Prevention System (NIPS) analyzes protocol activity to monitor the entire network for suspicious traffic.
- Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (WIPS) analyzes wireless networking protocols to monitor a wireless network for suspicious traffic.
- Network Behavior Analysis (NBA) examines network traffic to identify threats that generate atypical traffic flows, such as distributed denial-of-service attacks, malware, and policy violations.
- Host-based Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS) is an inbuilt software package that monitors a single host for suspicious activity by scanning the host's events.
In this paper, we will explore Network-based Intrusion Prevention Systems.
What is Network Intrusion Protection System (NIPS)?
A network intrusion protection system (NIPS) is an umbrella term for a collection of hardware and software systems that prevent unauthorized access and malicious activity on computer networks.
NIPS hardware can be an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) device, an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), or a combination of the two, such as an Intrusion Prevention and Detection System (IPDS). Note that while a NIDS can only detect intrusions, an IPS can prevent them by following predetermined rules, such as modifying firewall settings, and blocking specific IP addresses, or dropping certain packets entirely. In addition to dashboards and other data visualization tools, the software components of a NIPS include multiple firewalls, sniffers, and antivirus tools.
A NIPS continuously monitors the computer networks of an organization for abnormal traffic patterns, generating event logs, notifying system administrators of significant events, and preventing potential intrusions when possible. A NIPS is also useful for auditing internal security and documenting compliance regulations. As spyware, viruses, and attacks continue to proliferate, it is now acknowledged that a layered combination of interoperating security systems is required to safeguard computer networks from compromise. Any computer network that can be accessed by unauthorized individuals must have a NIPS in some form. Computers containing sensitive data are always in need of protection. However, even ostensibly insignificant networks can be exploited in botnet attacks.
Firewalls and intrusion prevention systems block traffic at two distinct levels. A firewall exists to permit or restrict network traffic based on protocol and port levels. While this is useful for blocking certain attack methods, attackers are also capable of utilizing legitimate protocols and ports to send malicious traffic across the network.
Standard firewalls, both stateful and stateless, do not perform packet inspection to determine the quality or legitimacy of traffic. Instead, they evaluate traffic volumes, origins, etc.
A network intrusion prevention system, or NIPS, employs packet inspection as well as anomaly, signature, and policy-based inspections to determine whether or not traffic is legitimate. It is a myth that if you have a firewall, you don't need an IPS solution to secure your network (or vice versa). This is completely false. To detect and prevent intrusions at the protocol and packet content levels, you require both solutions.
How Does Network Intrusion Protection System (NIPS) Work?
A network intrusion prevention system (NIPS) is a type of network security software that detects malicious activity on a network, reports information about said activity, and automatically blocks or terminates the activity. This is an expansion of capabilities over an "intrusion detection system", which, as the name suggests, only detects threats and does not actively prevent them. As a sort of checkpoint and enforcement point for network traffic passing through, the NIPS resides within the network perimeter between the firewall and the router.
How can Network Intrusion Protection System (NIPS) Secure a Network?
The NIPS analyzes protocol behavior to monitor the network for malicious activities or suspicious traffic. Once placed in a network, the NIPS is utilized to construct physical security zones. As a result, the network becomes intelligent and swiftly distinguishes between good and bad traffic. In other words, the NIPS serves as a detention facility for hostile traffic such as Trojans, worms, viruses, and polymorphic threats.
Three types of intrusion detection are utilized by network intrusion prevention systems to secure a network.
- Signature: Identifies attacks based on specific patterns, such as network traffic, bytes, and known previous attacks.
- Anomaly: Systems create a model of trustworthy behavior using machine learning and compare the current behavior to the model.
- Policy: Relies on predetermined network traffic baselines and activity outside of that baseline is considered a potential network threat; requires a systems administrator to manually configure security policies.
How does Intrusion on Your Network Happen?
A network intrusion is any illegal activity carried out on a digital network. Network incursions frequently entail the theft of valuable network resources and virtually always compromise a network and/or data security. Organizations and their cybersecurity teams must have a comprehensive understanding of how network intrusions operate and implement network intrusion, detection, and response systems that are designed with attack techniques and cover-up methods in mind in order to detect and respond proactively to network intrusions.
A network intrusion detection system that is correctly built and installed will assist in blocking off undesirable traffic. To ensure that organizations are adequately protected, however, it is necessary for defenders to have a general awareness of the types of assaults hackers use to steal data and use network resources.
- Worms: As a sort of virus, worms are any computer programs designed to proliferate without modifying permitted program files. A worm can replicate itself from computer to computer. Worm replication consumes computer processing time and network bandwidth and frequently carries payloads that are highly destructive. Typically, a worm exploits a security flaw in a piece of software or the operating system.
- Trojans: Worms spread via email attachments and the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) protocol, but Trojan horses do not replicate. Trojans can cause DDoS attacks, data theft, and other forms of network damage. Social engineering is frequently used by Trojans to get victims to install them on their computers. This typically occurs when a user unknowingly downloads a suspicious-appearing email attachment. Some Trojans exploit a security vulnerability in outdated web browser versions.
- Traffic Flood Attacks: A flood attack is a sort of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) assault that is begun by sending a large number of UDP packets to random ports on a remote host, resulting in traffic loads that are too high for the system to screen. This attack can be defended by installing firewalls at important network access points to filter out undesired network traffic. The potential victim never receives the malicious UDP packets and never replies to them because the firewall blocks them.
- Buffer Overflow Attacks: Buffer overflow attacks are another type of DDoS assault that seeks to overwrite certain areas of computer memory within a network, substituting regular data in those memory locations with a series of commands that will be performed later as part of the attack, which is typically a DDoS attack.
Occasionally, the objective is to get remote network access. Protocol Attacks or Spoofing Application protocols, which instruct devices on how to conduct network activities, may accidentally create vulnerabilities for network intrusions. Protocol-specific attacks can quickly compromise or bring down networked devices.
What is the Best Network Intrusion Detection System Software Tool?
Network-based Intrusion Prevention Systems (NIPS) are network security appliances or programs that monitor network traffic and evaluate network and protocol behaviors for any suspicious activity.
Here are some of the best-ranked intrusion prevention systems:
- SolarWinds Security Event Manager (SEM): SolarWinds Security Event Manager (SEM) is more than just an intrusion prevention system (IPS). It is a network security Swiss army knife, containing data loss prevention(DLP) tools, IDS, IPS, and so on. It is a virtual software that runs on a pre-hardened Linux installation. It is compatible with a number of hypervisors, including VMware, vSphere, and Microsoft HyperV.
- CrowdStrike Falcon XDR: CrowdStrike Falcon XDR is an anomaly-based detection system that can be supplemented by indications of compromise (IoC) derived from a threat intelligence feed. To collect activity data from endpoints, the system communicates with another Falcon product called Falcon Prevent. The service also communicates with third-party security solutions using a technique known as security orchestration, automation, and response in order to extract activity data and give back reaction instructions.
- Security Onion: Security Onion is a Linux distribution that also functions as a superior security solution. Once again, it is more than just an IDS/IPS; it also includes a number of other security features. It employs OSSEC for host-based IPS and Suricata and SNORT for network-based IPS.
- Snort: Snort will give you the option of running it as an IDS or an IPS. When you run it in Network Intrusion Detection System Mode, you can select whether you want it to just detect or identify and stop attacks.
What are the Types of Intrusion Prevention ?
Typically, IPS records information about observed events, warns security administrators about significant observed events, and generates reports. Many intrusion prevention systems (IPS) can also respond to an identified threat by attempting to prevent it from succeeding. They employ a variety of reaction strategies, including the IPS interrupting the attack, modifying the security environment, or changing the attack's content.
Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) Classification:
- Network-based intrusion prevention system (NIPS): It analyzes protocol behavior to monitor the entire network for suspicious traffic.
- Wireless intrusion prevention systems (WIPS) analyze wireless networking protocols to monitor a wireless network for suspicious traffic.
- Network behavior analysis (NBA) monitors network data to detect threats that cause anomalous traffic patterns, such as distributed denial of service(DDOS) attacks, specific types of malware, and policy breaches.
- HIPS (host-based intrusion prevention system): It is a built-in software package that monitors a single host for suspicious behavior by scanning events that occur on that host.
What are the Differences Between Network Intrusion Protection System (NIPS) and Network-Based Intrusion Detection System (NIDS)?
NIPS monitors the network and maintains its confidentiality, availability, and integrity. It protects the network primarily against malicious infiltration, service denial, and other severe threats. It examines protocols to identify unexpected behaviors by establishing a physical barrier to improve the network's intelligence and capacity to determine the intent of the traffic. Therefore, NIPS protects the network from viruses, Trojans, and other malicious attacks by acting as a barrier.
NIPS actively modifies network flow traffic originating from in-line and active replies. Therefore, when monitoring traffic, it conforms to the network and takes appropriate action in accordance with the regulations. NIDS (Network Intrusion Detection System) focuses exclusively on recognizing suspicious behavior. It checks the interface of the firewall when it is in read-only mode and then notifies the management via the read/write interface.
NIPS techniques application-specific systems and network processors with a high processing speed. Therefore, it executes thousands of commands as opposed to sequentially processing each instruction like a microprocessor.
The NIDS serves as a signature or anomaly-based signature to distinguish between safe and malicious communication. Because the system is susceptible to tuning errors, overflow by high-speed networks, and delaying signature development and encryption, it must be purchased from reputable sources.
What are the Differences Between Network Intrusion Protection System (NIPS) and Intrusion Protection System (IPS)?
An intrusion prevention system (IPS) is a network security instrument (which can be hardware or software) that continuously monitors a network for harmful behavior and prevents it by reporting, blocking, or dropping it when it occurs.
NISP is a sort of IPS that is only implemented at strategic locations to monitor all network traffic and check for threats proactively.
Is Network Intrusion Protection System (NIPS) Efficient?
A NIPS continuously monitors a company's computer networks for unusual traffic patterns, generating event logs, alerting system administrators to major incidents, and blocking any breaches when possible. A NIPS can also be used for internal security auditing and documenting compliance rules. Spyware, viruses, and attacks are becoming more prevalent, and it is generally understood that a layered combination of security solutions operating together is required to safeguard computer networks from cyber attacks. A NIPS of some kind is required for every computer network that can be accessed by unauthorized individuals. Computers with critical data should always be protected; yet, even seemingly insignificant networks might be hijacked for botnet attacks.
Do You Need a Network Intrusion Protection System (NIPS)?
Most organizations require network intrusion prevention systems to detect and halt network-based assaults, particularly those that cannot be detected by existing enterprise security controls. IPS technologies are available in a variety of forms, but the one with dedicated hardware and software is the most commonly utilized by bigger businesses. Although this type of IPS may be more expensive, it also provides significant benefits, and there are various compelling arguments for utilizing dedicated hardware and software IPS instead of or in addition to other types of IPS.
Organizations profit greatly from network intrusion prevention systems. First and foremost, because it employs a variety of threat detection approaches, an IPS can detect and prevent assaults that conventional security controls cannot. These allow for the detection of a wide range of application-borne attacks, as well as any attack detectable by deviations from an organization's defined baselines of normal operation. Other significant advantages include the ability to detect attacks and other undesirable activity that is only relevant to a specific business, as well as the ability to safeguard other enterprise security measures by preventing attacks from reaching them and decreasing their workload. For these and other reasons, most organizations now consider network intrusion prevention systems to be an essential component of their overall network security strategy.