RE: IDS\IPS that can handle one Gig
From: Andrew Plato (andrew.plato_at_anitian.com)
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 09:11:56 -0700 To: <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Another option, and one that many organizations are beginning to
> is to forget the current, "fashionable" notions of IPS and return
> to basics -- to focus more closely on vunerability and information
> management. I believe that if you have a comprehensive, continuous
> and meaningful flow of information about the environment and an
> effective vulnerability remediation program, the need for IPS
> appliances and agents (band-aids) can be reduced dramatically.
I hear this every now and then from security people, and I think this is
an attitude borne out of lack of experience with IPS.
I have yet to see an environment (and I am a consultant so I see
hundreds per year) where there is an effective patch and vulnerability
management that can keep pace with the exploits in the wild. Quite
simply, it is impossible to think you can keep a large enterprise
continuously patched and therefore resistant to the latest
On average, it can take 20 to 30 days for an organization to roll out a
single Microsoft Windows patch. That includes testing, troubleshooting,
and deployment. In 30 days, your environment could be crawling with all
sorts of filth thanks to unpatched machines.
Furthermore, if you look at the timeline of when an vulnerability is
"discovered", then when an exploit hits the streets - that time can be
days, even hours. In that case, its still weeks before MS or anybody
releases a patch, and then even more time before you could patch all
your machines. In this case, even under reasonable, well controlled
situation most organizations are three to six weeks out from patching
systems when an exploit is released. That is a ridiculously long period
of time. A period where that environment could become infested.
Furthermore, a "comprehensive, continuous and meaningful flow of
information about the environment" means eyeballs. Somebody needs to be
watching that meaningful flow of information. And while highly trained
security engineers are an important part of a security team - they won't
work 24 hours day. People are the most important part of information
security, but technology works longer hours.
People also make mistakes and miss things. Its insane to think a
security admin or a network admin has the time or concentration to sift
through mountains of data everyday. Nobody will do that job for long -
or do it well.
Now, with a good IPS deployment, I can load up a signature update
(hopefully released BEFORE the exploit hit the streets), and now my
entire network is secure from the new exploit. I go home and rest easy.
If I have host-IPS I can update all my workstations too. Now, my patch
management team has time to roll-out patches in a more controlled and
logical manner. They are not dashing around at 4AM trying to put out
IPS gives people control over their environment. And well-run IT
departments have control over their equipment. They're not constantly
flailing around or giving themselves impossible tasks.
That much said, I agree that IPS is sometimes given unrealistic
expectations. For this, I point the finger squarely at the legions of
Blackberry pecking vendor reps and cell phone yacking volume resellers
who say things like "If you're not using <insert technology here>,
you're not secure!" (that's an actual line, from an actual ad I saw).
These people could care less about security, they just want to sell
something. So, they'll tell you anything you want to hear about an IPS.
And they rely on the ignorance of IT departments to fall for marketing
However, when you peel away the sales people, I sincerely do not think
IPS is some "fashionable notion." It's a serious and effective way to
proactively defend a network. I've have seen the benefits.
Andrew Plato, CISSP
ANITIAN ENTERPRISE SECURITY
3800 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Suite 280
Beaverton, OR 97005
GPG fingerprint: 16E6 C5B0 B6CB F287 776E E9A9 AF47 9914 3582 633D
GPG public key available at: http://www.anitian.com/corp/keys.htm
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