Wednesday, December 28, 2016

HOWTO : Build An Affordable Intrusion Detection And Prevention System For Home Users

What is Intrusion Detection And Prevention System?

Intrusion detection and prevention system (IDPS) monitors incoming and outgoing traffic on your network and blocks the malicious traffic (packets) based on rules (blacklists).

Why home users need IDPS?

Not only big companies need IDPS but also home users as long as they are connecting to the internet. Almost all home users installed anti-virus but it is not enough. They do need more protection against the cyber criminals.

However, most IDPS appliances are very expensive for home users. Most open source solutions are also demanding for them as they do not familiar with networking and technology.

What is Almond Croissants and Why?

Almond Croissants is an open source intrusion detection and prevention system which is based on Suricata engine. Suricata is the next-generation IDPS engine with a lot of outstanding features.

Users of Almond Croissants are not required to be familiar with networking and technology. It is designed for them in mind. Not only that, it is designed for low-end hardware too. It is really "Plug, Play and Forget!".

What are the key features of Almond Croissants?

- Block ports and vulnerabilities scanning
- Block known exploitation on vulnerable systems
- Block known malicious IP addresses to access your systems
- Block known source of Secure Shell (SSH) brute forcing
- Block The Onion Router (TOR) to access your systems
- Prevent from accessing known malicious sites with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates
- Prevent from being infected by known virus and malware
- Block known annoying advertising servers
- Easy and straight forward analysis with charts on web interfaces
- Compatible with Bittorrent and 4K video streaming
- Ultra-low latency for online gaming
- Compatible with Windows, Linux, macOS, Apple iOS and Android
- Ultra-low latency throughput that drives your network to a limit
- No subscription fee
- More protection for web servers
- More protection from known malware
- Block known phishing sites
- Automatically update and upgrade
- Plug, Play and Forget!

What hardware is required?

If you have a small family with 4 members and have about 200-250Mbps bandwidth, Zotac Mini PC CI323 (Intel Celeron N3150 with 16GB RAM) is recommended. Meanwhile, you may also require a USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet dongle. Yes, 16GB RAM. The vendor states that it supports up to 8GB RAM, however, you can install a total of 16GB RAM on it. A 320GB hard drive is also required. It requires a total of 3 network interface cards. The price of the system is below $400-USD. It is low power consumption for long run.

More powerful CPU and more memory are recommended for demanding situation. Almond Croissants is running on dedicated hardware. The minimum requirements for Almond Croissants is 2-4 CPU threads and 16GB RAM.

How to install?

Since ultra-low latency of Almond Croissants, it is recommended to put Almond Croissants between modem and router. Furthermore, you can install it between router and switch too. However, if you have a wireless router, it is recommended to put Almond Croissants in front of the wireless router.

First of all, you need to install Ubuntu Server (LTS edition) on the box. SSH server is recommended to be installed for remote management inside your network. It may need 8 or more hours to install Almond Croissants on Zotac Mini PC CI323. Make sure the box is connecting to the internet as it fetches the packages and data from various servers in the internet.

The installation procedure is well documented on the Almond Croissants official site. It is easy but it kills time.

After the installation, you can plug the Zotac Mini PC CI323 between modem and router. The USB Ethernet Card is connecting to switch. A reboot is required. It needs about 10 minutes to let all the rules and data load into the memory once boot up.

What's next?

Make sure firewall on your router is enabled and do not allow SSH port to be accessed outside your network unless it is well protected. Anti-virus program to be installed on every computer is optional but is recommended.

For further protection on your laptop and smartphone outside your home, you are required to setup a VPN inside your network. When you are using laptop at coffee shop or using smartphone on the road, you can connect to your VPN and your connection will be protected by Almond Croissants.

All rules and upgrade will be conducted during mid-night between 0100 and 0800 hours. Therefore, the box requires running 24/7/365 and server grade hardware is recommended.

See also

Almond Croissants - Intrusion Detection And Prevention System
Zotac Mini PC C Series
Suricata IDPS Engine
Hardening Mobile Devices with Intrusion Prevention System
Know Your Enemies and Know Yourself
OpenVPN official site
How To Set Up an OpenVPN Server on Ubuntu 16.04
Configure OpenVPN on Ubuntu 16.04
Intel Celeron N3150 Specifications

That's all! See you.