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Snort® is an open source network intrusion prevention and detection system (IDS/IPS) developed by Sourcefire.


Originally released in 1998 by Sourcefire founder and CTO Martin Roesch, Snort is a free, open source network intrusion detection and prevention system capable of performing real-time traffic analysis and packet logging on IP networks. Initially called a “lightweight” intrusion detection technology, Snort has evolved into a mature, feature-rich IPS technology that has become the de facto standard in intrusion detection and prevention. With over 4 million downloads and nearly 400,000 registered users, it is the most widely deployed intrusion prevention technology in the world.


Snort can perform protocol analysis and content searching/matching. It can be used to detect a variety of attacks and probes, such as buffer overflows, stealth port scans, CGI attacks, SMB probes, OS fingerprinting attempts, and much more. It uses a flexible rules language to describe traffic that it should collect or pass, as well as a detection engine that utilizes a modular plug-in architecture. Snort has a real-time alerting capability as well, incorporating alerting mechanisms for syslog, a user specified file, a UNIX socket, or WinPopup messages to Windows clients. Snort has three primary uses: a straight packet sniffer like tcpdump, a packet logger (useful for network traffic debugging, etc), or a full-blown network intrusion prevention system.


The Snort Engine is distributed both as source code and binaries for popular Linux distributions and Windows


Note to Windows users: If you’re downloading Snort binaries the only requirements are WinPcap and Barnyard.


Libpcap In the field of computer network administration, pcap consists of an application programming interface (API) for capturing network traffic. Unix-like systems implement pcap in the libpcap library; Windows uses a port of libpcap known as WinPcap.

Monitoring software may use libpcap and/or WinPcap to capture packets traveling over a network. libpcap and WinPcap also support saving captured packets to a file and reading files containing saved packets. Snort uses these files to read network traffic and analyze it.

For more information and to download please visit tcpdump


Perl Compatible Regular Expressions (PCRE) is a regular expression C library inspired by Perl’s external interface, written by Philip Hazel. The PCRE library is incorporated into a number of prominent open-source programs such as the Apache HTTP Server, the PHP and R scripting languages, and Snort.

For more information and to download please visit PCRE.


Libdnet is a generic networking API that provides access to several protocols.

For more information and to download please visit libdnet


Barnyard is an output system for Snort. Snort creates a special binary output format called unified. Barnyard2 reads this file, and then resends the data to a database back-end. Unlike the database output plugin, Barnyard2 manages the sending of events to the database and stores them when the database temporarily cannot accept connections.

For more information and to download please visit barnyard2


DAQ is the Data-Acquisition API that is necessary to use Snort version 2.9.0 and above.

For more information and to download please visit DAQ

See Also