dan riehlFeature Article by Dan Riehl at http://SecureMYi.com

How do you know if someone is scanning your IP ports for vulnerabilities? Or how do you know if you're being attacked by denial of service attacks like a SYN Flood or Smurf attack?

The IBM i Intrusion Detection System (IDS) alerts you when an attack against the system is in progress. In most cases, you have no other way to monitor for these intrusion events. With IBM i version 6.1 and 7.1, you can have the IDS up and running in a few minutes. IBM i Navigator for Windows provides an IDS Setup Wizard, which makes setting up the IDS a very simple process. On my system, I had it up and running in about 30 minutes—25 of those were spent reading the documentation and the On-Line help text.

Why do I need an Intrusion Detection System?

An IBM i connected to any network should be running the IDS. Some may say they're protected behind a corporate firewall and therefore are immune to these types of attacks. But attacks also come from inside your network, and as far as outside attacks, do you want to bet the security and availability of your System that the firewalls can reject ALL unwanted traffic?

When an attack occurs, instant notification of the attack can be sent to a message queue as well as via email to several email addresses you stipulate. When you see an incoming attack, you can then take preventative actions to stop the attack or prevent the attacker from getting to you again. As prevention, you can set packet filtering rules within IBM i Navigator and adjust firewall rules as needed. The IDS is a detection system; it, alone, cannot prevent an attack.

In addition to monitoring for attacks, the IDS also detects if the IBM i is being used as the attacker of another system. You would certainly want to know if someone is launching an attack from within your system.

IBM i 6.1 and 7.1 Differences from 5.4

Since OS/400 V5R4M0, IBM i has included the IDS that monitors network activity for numerous types of attacks. Under V5R4M0, setting up the IDS is a difficult and frustrating exercise. But as of IBM i 6.1, and the introduction of the IDS Setup Wizard, configuring the IDS has become a very simple process. The dependency on the Quality of Service (QoS) Server in V5R4M0 has been removed. The QoS server integration was my biggest stumbling block in that older implementation. I just could not get it to work.

The remainder of this article will focus on the IDS in IBM i 6.1 and 7.1. If you're still at 5.4, you can configure the IDS using the instructions in the IBM Redbook IBM i5/OS Intrusion Detection System at http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/redpapers/pdfs/redp4226.pdf