Top Open-Source Host Intrusion Detection System Tools

Top Open-Source Host Intrusion Detection System Tools
Published By - Kelsey Taylor

Host-based IDS are applications that manage the intrusion detection systems of computer infrastructure. HIDS helps provide perspective into essential security systems. 

Companies employee Open-Source Host Intrusion Detection System Tools best suited for their requirements and objectives. HIDS analyzes activities and identifies threats inside the network perimeter.

HIDS provides a vantage point view of the computer system. It uses anti-threat solutions like firewalls, antivirus software, and spyware-detection programs.

Unlike NIDS, HIDS identifies and monitors suspicious and malicious activity. It is a passive solution and understands the nature of the attempted attack.

Top 10 Open-Source Host-Based Intrusion Detection System:


OSSEC stands for Open-Source HIDS Security. It is a free and customizable solution that works on multiple platforms.

It was developed by Daniel Cid in 2003 and provides solutions for on-premise and cloud environments. It helps organizations meet specific compliance requirements like PCI DSS. 

Key Features:

  • It provides log-based intrusion detection, monitors file integrity, and real-time responses.
  • It offers host-based intrusion detection system solutions for platforms like Linux, Solaris, AIX, Windows, Mac, etc.
  • It provides custom alert rules and detects malicious behavior.
  • It is a complete platform that monitors and manages systems.


Zeek is an open-sourced network monitoring tool. It was previously known as Bro.

It is one of the top 5 recommended host intrusion detection systems. It provides an analysis of the captured traffic and converts it into a series of events.

Key Features:

  • It is a flexible open-source solution that is powered by defenders.
  • It provides a comprehensive analysis of the network traffic. 
  • It offers a concise view of the infrastructure. It provides accurate transaction logs, file content, and customizable output for a manual review.


Snort is an incredible and one of the oldest open-source IDS. It was developed back in 1998 and has provided active support to the community.

It is a globally deployed IDS tool and is a leading open-source Intrusion Prevention System.

Key Features:

  • It identifies attacks such as buffer overflows, stealth port scans, CGI attacks, etc.
  • It works with platforms like Linux, Windows, Fedora, Centos, and FreeBSD.
  • It offers anomaly and signature-based solutions which makes it more accessible.
  • It is known for its high-level customization solutions. It can be employed by organizations of different sizes, industries, and agendas.


Splunk is a cloud-based SaaS solution that offers both HIDS and NIDS features. It is a market leader in analyzing machine data.

It investigates, manages, analyzes, and operates on the collected data in real-time. It was ranked as a SIEM leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant in 2020. 

Key Features: 

  • Its Adaptive Operation Framework provides automation features that make it an IPS. 
  • Its dashboard is very attractive that offers multiple data visualization options.
  • It offers a Data-to-Everything platform and powers security, IT, and DevOps.
  • Splunk provides less than 70% of breaches and fraud risks, accelerates development by 90 %, and reduces incidents and downtime by 82%

Open DLP

Open DLP is a free and open-source, agent and agentless-based, centrally-managed distributable data loss prevention tool. It is a web application that manages sensitive data on Windows, UNIX, MySQL, and MSSQL.

Key Features:

  • It scans data while it is at rest in databases or on file systems.
  • It tracks unauthorized copying and transfer of data relating to the organization.
  • It is a distributable data loss prevention tool released under GPL from the centralized web application.


Sagan is a free and open-source host-based intrusion detection system with a real-time correlation engine. It is written on C and uses multi-threaded architecture to deliver high-performance log and event analysis.

The application’s design provides structure and rules function to maintain compatibility. 

Key Features:

  • It is compatible with rule management software like Oinkmaster, Pulled Pork, etc.
  • It provides flawless performance levels using it multi-threaded architectural approach.
  • It offers IP locator features to view geographical locations of detected IP addresses. It helps organizations prepare for a potential attack depending on the insights of detected IP addresses.


Wazuh is an enterprise-ready open source security monitoring solution. It aims to protect workloads across on-premise, virtual, containerized, and cloud-based infrastructures.

It is completely integrated with Elastic Stack. It allows users to easily navigate through search engines and data visualization tools.

Key Features:

  • It addresses continuous managing and responses to advanced threats.
  • It consists of an endpoint security agent deployed to help monitored systems. 
  • Its management server gathers and analyzes data collected by the agents.
  • It provides users with navigation authority through security alerts using search engines and data visualization tools.


Samhain is an open-source host-based intrusion detection system best known for file integrity checking and log file managing and analysis. It is a solution with central management that helps users detect hidden processes.

Key Features:

  • It provides centralized encryption of monitoring features over TCP/IP communications.
  • It monitors multiple hosts with various operating systems. It functions on POSIX systems (UNIX, Linux, Cygwin/Windows).
  • It runs with the help of MySQL and Apache installed on the server.  It helps with extensive and detailed documentation projects.


Papertrail is cloud-hosted log management for quick troubleshooting of infrastructure and app issues. It is a log aggregator with SolarWinds that provides backups and archives to maintain files.

It consolidates logs centrally with cloud-hosted log management. It is the next evolution of the SaaS portfolio to monitor cloud-native environments.

Key Features: 

  • It provides easy access and quick search functions for the data archive.
  • It encrypts log data in transit or storage to authenticate compulsory access to files.
  • It manages a variety of file types and alerts to threat intelligence policy updates. It learns new information from cyberattack attempts for detection strategies.


AgentSmith-HIDS is a cloud-native host-based intrusion detection system. It provides next-generation Threat Detection and Behaviour Audition for modern architecture.

Key Features: 

  • It is a high-performing ‘Host Information Collection Agent’. It provides detailed information on the data collected.
  • It collaborates with both Kernel and User Space of Linux System to provide a strong flow of data.
  • The tool is built to collaborate with other applications. It is used as a security, monitor, and detector of the assets.


The best open-source host intrusion detection systems help companies keep track of security breaches and fraudulent behavior. The global market for host-based intrusion detection systems is expected to grow from $4.8 billion in 2020 to $6.2 billion in 2025.


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