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Secureworks Releases Open Source IDS Tools

Secureworks has released two open source tools, Flowsynth and Dalton, designed to help analysts test rules for intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) such as Snort and Suricata.

Dalton allows users to quickly and easily run network packet capture (pcap) files against IDS/IPS engines using bespoke rules and/or existing rulesets.

Common use cases for Dalton include testing ruleset coverage, developing and troubleshooting signatures, testing configuration changes, testing variable changes, testing specific IDS engine behavior, and creating custom packet captures.

Dalton includes a controller component, which provides a web interface and an API for retrieving job results and communicating with agents. These agents, which represent the second component of the tool, run on IDS sensors and provide an interface between the controller and the IDS engine.

The second tool released as open source by Secureworks is Flowsynth, which complements Dalton by making it easier for users to quickly model network traffic and generate custom pcaps.

“Flowsynth rapidly models network traffic and generates libpcap-formatted packet captures. It leverages the Scapy packet manipulation tool, but Flowsynth's input is a text-based, structured intermediate language that is simple to create and understand. It allows for programmatic network flow definitions as well as ad hoc and custom network traffic creation,” Secureworks explained.

The Dalton controller includes a web-based user interface that connects the tool to Flowsynth and allows the created pcaps to be easily sent to Dalton for testing.

The documentation and examples provided by Secureworks are specifically made for Suricata and Snort, both of which are also open source.

The security firm says Dalton and Flowsynth are based on tools that its Counter Threat Unit research team has used internally for several years. “They have been so useful that Secureworks decided to make them available to the network IDS community,” the company said.

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Eduard Kovacs is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.