What is SNORT?

In the area of cybersecurity, the requirement for robust and effective intrusion detection and prevention systems is critical. SNORT, a network intrusion detection and prevention system that is free and open-source, is one of the most well-known and commonly used systems in this area. Snort, which also notifies system administrators of potential security concerns. Martin Roesch created it for the first time in 1998, and since then it has grown to be one of the most popular network security tools worldwide.

What is SNORT?

The initial version of SNORT, an open-source network intrusion detection and prevention system, was made available in 1998. It is intended to keep track of network activity and examine it for any indications of malicious behavior, such as attempts to take advantage of software flaws or unauthorized access.

A wide variety of network-based attacks, such as malware infections, efforts at network reconnaissance, denial-of-service attacks, and more, can be found with SNORT. Real-time network traffic analysis and comparison with a pre-established set of rules are used to do this. Preprocessors, detection plugins, and output plugins are just a few of the numerous plugins that Snort supports and is very extendable and adaptable to. Before Snort analyzes network data, preprocessors are employed to prepare the traffic. To generate alerts or log files, output plugins are used in conjunction with detection plugins to identify threats.

Working of SNORT

SNORT analyses network traffic based on a set of rules that specify what to look for. These guidelines can be altered to suit the particular requirements of an organization and are kept in a configuration file.

SNORT examines network traffic as it enters the system and compares it to its set of rules. If it finds an activity that complies with one of the criteria, it can take several steps, including logging the activity, notifying an administrator, or completely obstructing the traffic. To provide another layer of defense against network-based attacks, SNORT can be used in concert with other systems like firewalls and intrusion prevention systems.

Benefits of using SNORT

Using SNORT has several benefits, including its adaptability and customization. Due to its rules-based methodology, businesses can customize their detection capabilities to match their unique requirements and make adjustments as the threat landscape changes.

Another benefit is its profitability. SNORT can be installed and utilized without paying a license fee because it is open-source and free to use. Because of this, it is a desirable option for businesses on a tight budget or those that are just starting to deploy security measures. Also, SNORT has a sizable and active user base, so there is a tonne of materials available for users to learn how to configure and operate the system efficiently.

Pros of SNORT

1. Free and open-source

Snort is free to download and use, and anyone is welcome to alter as per their specifications using the program's source code.

2. High accuracy

In identifying and stopping malicious activity on a network, Snort is renowned for its excellent accuracy.

3. Extremely customizable

Snort is highly extensible and customizable, letting users add or modify rules and plugins to satisfy their individual network security needs.

4. Real-time notifications

When an attack is discovered, Snort generates real-time alarms, enabling network administrators to take immediate action and limit additional harm.

5. Support from the community

Snort has a sizable and vibrant user and development community that offers help, documentation, and updates.

Cons of SNORT

1. High false positives

Snort tends to generate false positives, meaning that it may label genuine network traffic as malicious, which can be annoying for network administrators.

2. Expertise

It is necessary to utilize Snort efficiently despite being a powerful tool. To get the most out of Snort, network administrators need a solid grasp of network security and its setup.

3. Restricted features and capabilities

Because Snort is primarily an IDS/IPS system, it might not provide all the functions and features of a dedicated security solution.

4. Resource-intensive

Snort can use a lot of resources, particularly when examining significant amounts of network traffic. Performance problems on low-end hardware may result from this.

5. Minimal reporting

In comparison to more advanced security systems, Snort's reporting capabilities are somewhat restricted. This may make it challenging.


Effective intrusion detection and prevention systems are more necessary than ever in the modern digital environment. SNORT is a strong and adaptable tool that can assist businesses in keeping track of their network traffic and defending themselves from a variety of network-based threats. Using SNORT, businesses may identify risks instantly and take action, lowering the likelihood of an attack's success and limiting the possible damage.

Updated on: 11-Apr-2023


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