Snort rival launches threat-detection start-up

Emerging Threats Pro debuted Monday with a rival intrusion detection and prevention signature technology to vendor Sourcefire, which shepherds open source Snort and its threat-detection signature base.

Is open source Snort dead? Depends who you ask

Emerging Threats Pro is building its products around Suricata, the open source IDS/IPS software championed by the non-profit group Open Information Security Foundation (OISF), which earlier this year made available the Suricata engine software. The start-up has about 15 employees and contractors working for it.

The company's founder, Matt Jonkman, is also president of OISF, which has been receiving funding from the Deptartment of Homeland Security. Jonkman says Emerging Threats Pro depends on private and undisclosed funding not related to OISF.

Jonkman says it's necessary to buy many of the up-to-date Snort signatures from Sourcefire, but Emerging Threats Pro has taken some of the older Snort signature rules that are more freely available and converted them to run on the Suricata IDS/IPS engine. His firm is combining those with signatures designed for Suricata for a signature base of about 16,000 rules for the Suricata engine, he says.

A rivalry has erupted between the backers of Snort and Suricata since its debut in July. Sourcefire, upon request, issued a statement to clarify how it handles the Snort rule base.

Sourcefire states: "Snort rules are available to open-source Snort users at no charge on a 30-day delayed basis via the Snort.org website. Snort users wishing to receive Snort rules in 'real time' as they are published by the Sourcefire Vulnerability Research Team may purchase an annual Snort rule subscription for each production Snort sensor for a nominal fee. Commercial Sourcefire customers are entitled to receive real-time Snort rules as part of their annual maintenance agreement."

Emerging Threats Pro says its subscription service will combine its signature base for Suricata along with the Telus Intelligent feed of risk and threat information, which the start-up has licensed from Canadian service provider Telus. Pricing for the subscription package will run about $300 to $350 per year per sensor, Jonkman says.

Appliance vendors are also expected to announce support for the start-up's Suricata signature base and use them under contract with Emerging Threats Pro.

Emerging Threat Pro is now available for the current version of Snort with historical support back to version 2.4 and Suricata

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