Ten Open Source Security Apps Worth Considering - Page 2

Are open source network security apps a good choice for your company? A look at the pros and cons. Plus: a handful of apps in the forefront.

By Cynthia Harvey | Posted Apr 27, 2007
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Ten Open-Source Security Apps Worth Consideration

If you're thinking about using some open-source components as part of your security plan, you have literally thousands to choose from. At the time of publication, Freshmeat.net listed 1,232 open source security projects, and SourceForge.netlisted 3,334. To help narrow the scope, here's a list of ten open source security apps that the experts point to most often as being valuable for the enterprise.

1. Nessus

Nessus claims to be " the world's most popular vulnerability scanner used in over 75,000 organizations world-wide." While the scanner is available for free download, a yearly direct feed subscription updated with all the latest threat information costs $1,200 from Tenable Network Security. Nessus is available for Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Mac OS X, and Windows.

2. Snort

This intrusion detection system (IDS) is so effective it's become the number one IDS in the world and has been incorporated into a number of commercially available products. In addition to the free download, Snort's developer, Sourcefire, offers commercial products based on the open-source code. It's available for Linux, Windows, FreeBSD, and OS X.

3. Nagios

Specifically designed for enterprise users, Nagios monitors network services, host resources, and environmental factors and identifies potential vulnerabilities. As well as providing a graphical representation of network functions, it can send alerts via e-mail or pager. It works best on Linux, but can run on *NIX systems as well.

4. SpamAssasssin

No list of open-source security tools would be complete without SpamAssassin. A two-time DatamationProduct of the Year winner, this anti-spam tool is the "secret sauce" behind a number of commercial products, as well as being put to good use by a number of e-mail hosting vendors and spam filtering vendors. Experts often recognize SpamAssassin as the best open-source anti-spam tool available. (OS-independent)

5. ClamAV

The largest and most widely used open-source anti-virus tool, Clam Antivirus is highly respected and generally acknowledged to be as good as commercial antivirus packages. The original source code supports UNIX-based systems, but the site also links to third-party solutions for Linux, BSD, and Windows.

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