Intrusion Detection

10 Best Free and Open Source Host-Based Intrusion Detection Systems

An intrusion detection system is a device or software application that monitors a network or systems for malicious activity or policy violations.

IDS types range in scope from single computers to large networks. The most common classifications are network intrusion detection systems (NIDS) and host-based intrusion detection systems (HIDS). A system that monitors important operating system files is an example of an HIDS, while a system that detects malicious traffic on a network is an example of an NIDS.

Here’s our verdict on the finest HIDS. We only feature open source software here.

Best Free and Open Source Host Based Intrusion Detection Systems

Let’s explore the 10 HIDS. For each application we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

Host-Based Intrusion Detection Systems
Fail2BanBan hosts that cause multiple authentication errors
WazuhPlatform used for threat prevention, detection, and response
OSSECFull platform to monitor and control your systems.
SaganMulti-threads, high performance log analysis engine
TripwireSecurity and data integrity tool
LogwatchPowerful and versatile log parser and analyzer
AIDEAdvanced Intrusion Detection Environment
SamhainFile integrity checking and log file monitoring/analysis and more
rkhunterScans for rootkits, backdoors and possible local exploits
chkrootkitLocally checks for signs of a rootkit

If you’re looking for software-based NIDS, we recommend the best free and open source solutions in this separate article. NIDS can protect hundreds of computer systems from one network location. This helps make them a cost effective solution and easier to deploy than a HID.


Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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