[ISN] IDS users swamped with false alerts

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Sun Dec 16 2001 - 23:29:49 PST

  • Next message: InfoSec News: "Re: [ISN] MS rolls out security obscurity bribe program"

    By John Leyden
    Posted: 14/12/2001 at 18:09 GMT
    The number of redundant alarms and false positives generated by
    Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) has come under fire from users
    attending an event designed to raise awareness about the technology.
    Users attending an 'ABCs of IDS' event at London's City University
    yesterday said more the 80 per cent of the alerts they received were
    false, with one citing 60 alerts he had received about non-existent
    problems that morning at 0300.
    IDS systems, which act as a kind of burglar alarm to for hacker
    attacks, provide "defence in depth" from hack attacks by providing
    alerts about suspicious activity via sensors on a network or host
    machine. The technology is reactive in nature, meaning human
    intervention is needed, because if an IDS system shut off traffic or
    stopped a service automatically this could cause more problems than it
    Representation from Cisco Systems, Intrusion.com, NFR Security, Top
    Layer and managed services firm proseq at the event conceded false
    alerts and redundant alarms (such as Apache-targeted hacks on firm
    with no such servers) were a serious problem. However there was a
    marked absence of ideas of how about the technology could be
    fine-tuned to minimise the problem, with vendors emphasising the fact
    that systems need to be part of an overall security policy, which
    receives adequate resources.
    Part of the problem seems to be that business managers buy IDS systems
    (often on the advice of auditors or consultants) without committing to
    the people and resources needed to make the technology work, or having
    a managed services firm maintain an installation.
    The concern is that adopters of the technology will fail to maintain
    it or simply leave it to gather dust as overworked admins get
    bombarded with false alarms.
    In recent weeks we've spoken to two service providers, COLT Telecom
    and Data Return, who both told us customers request the installation
    of IDS systems in their datacentre but then subsequently fail to
    monitor the alerts generated.
    Speaking at a recent Black Hat conference, Nicolas Fischbach, senior
    IP and security engineer at COLT Telecom, said IDS systems if hosting
    environments generate "thousands of alerts but no one watches them."
    This can generate a false sense of security, he warned.
    Users at last night's conference echoed these concerns and one summed
    up the feelings of the meeting by saying "installation of IDS systems
    is only 10 per cent of the solution".
    Brian Milnes, general manager in Northern Europe of security tools
    firm Intrusion.com, said buying a IDS systems was like "buying a
    Christmas puppy" because both needed attention.
    ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org
    To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY
    of the mail.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Dec 17 2001 - 13:19:39 PST