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Network and Host Intrusion Prevention Systems

written by: Steve Mallard•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 5/7/2010

Companies today cannot rely on just firewalls and antivirus software. With host based intrusion systems, computers are loaded with agents that analyze data and data packets to help protect your computer. Network intrusion prevention systems can drop packets, block traffic or isolate your network.

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    What is NIPS and HIPS?

    Network and Host Intrusion Prevention Systems help to protect larger networks. While firewalls filter individual packets based on rules, intrustion prevention systems send alerts based on individual signatures and patterns loaded on the aforesaid computer.

    These nodes detect malicious activity by sniffing the network traffic and analyizing the data. If the packets appear to be malicious in nature, the network administrator can be alerted and the appropriate traffic can be further analyzed to determine what action should be taken if any.

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    Host Instrusion Prevention Systems rely on software being loaded on individual workstations and servers. Host intrusion prevention systems works in conjunction with the operating system and hardware such as the network interface card. As packets of data flow in and out of the computer or node, the packets are analyzed against current signatures loaded with the agent.

    Individual HIPS programs work with antimalware and antivirus software. This puts the HIPS 'type' programs in a proactive solution in the security sector. Because this software is loaded, it puts computers (servers or workstations) 'on guard'.

    Many network administrators make the mistake of being reactive. Being reactive to computer security means the system has possibly been penetrated or infected.

    Agents like antimalware software and antivirus software require updating. With different and changing modes of instrusions taking place, HIPS based systems look for and analyze behavioral patterns.

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    Network Instrusion Prevention Systems

    Network Instrusion Prevention Systems help to protect the entire network infrastructure. With a network instrusion prevention system in place, computers within the organization are protected by devices such as firewalls that analyze incoming and outbound traffic. Network instrusion prevention systems can drop or block traffic based on policies or patterns (smart technology). With rules and policies in place, NIPS based systems (computers, firewalls or other devices) can suspend the traffic permanently or temporary. These systems like HIPS based systems are a proactive method of protecting networks.

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    Several security vendors such as CA (Computer Associates) and TrendMicro (Worry-Free) produce software that is all inclusive and analyzes malicious threats before these packets infect or threaten a computer. These security software packages (with HIPS) are becoming more common with end point security for every workstation and server. These packages contain malware, firewalls and NIPS and HIPS included.

    TrendMicro's Worry-Free Bright Hub Review - Here.

    WatchGuard's Firewall Review - Link