IDS Snort rules: Activating Snort rules

Learn the dos and don'ts of activating the Snort Sourcefire and Bleeding Edge Threats rules.

Snort rules are simply text files named by the convention RULETYPE.rules, e.g., web-attacks.rules or bleeding-web.rules. They are typically activated by including a reference to them in the snort.conf. First, include a directive in snort.conf telling Snort where to find the rules directory:

var RULE_PATH /nsm/rules/sensorname

Later in the snort.conf file, include references to the desired rules.

include $RULE_PATH/x11.rules
#include $RULE_PATH/icmp.rules
include $RULE_PATH/netbios.rules

In the example above this sensor will run x11.rules and netbios.rules, but not icmp.rules. Including BET rules is just as easy, with one twist. The snort.conf file would contain the following:

include /usr/local/etc/nsm/bleeding.conf

include $RULE_PATH/bleeding-attack_response.rules
include $RULE_PATH/bleeding-botcc.rules
include $RULE_PATH/bleeding-dos.rules

The first statement above points to a file called bleeding.conf that defines specific variables use by BET rules. At present it only has this entry:

var SSH_PORTS 22

This means BET rules where SSH_PORTS is mentioned translate that variable into meaning port 22.


Snort Report -- IDS Snort rules

  Introduction
  False positives
  Sourcefire rules
  Bleeding Edge Threats rules
  Acquiring Snort rules
 Activating Snort rules
  Loading rules

About the author
Richard Bejtlich is founder of TaoSecurity, author of several books on network security monitoring, including Extrusion Detection: Security Monitoring for Internal Intrusions, and operator of the TaoSecurity blog.

This was first published in April 2007

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