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SSFRULES - Securing Cisco Networks with Snort Rule Writing Best Practices


Securing Cisco Networks with Snort Rule Writing Best Practices (SSFRULES) is an instructor-led, lab-intensive course that introduces students to the open source Snort community and rule-writing best practices.

Users focus exclusively on the Snort rules language and rule writing. Starting from rule syntax and structure to advanced rule-option usage, you will analyze exploit packet captures and put the rule writing theories learned to workimplementing rule-language features to trigger alerts on the offending network traffic.

This course also provides instruction and lab exercises on how to detect certain types of attacks, such as buffer overflows, utilizing various rule-writing techniques. You will test your rule-writing skills in two challenges: a theoretical challenge that tests knowledge of rule syntax and usage, and a practical challenge in which we present an exploit for you to analyze and research so you can defend your installations against the attack.

This course combines lecture materials and hands-on labs throughout to make sure that you are able to successfully understand and implement open source rules


Upon successful completion of this course and it's labs you should be able to:

  • Understand rule structure, rule syntax, rule options, and their usage
  • Configure and create Snort rules
  • Understand the rule optimization process to create efficient rules
  • Understand preprocessors and how data is presented to the rule engine
  • Create and implement functional Regular Expressions in Snort rules
  • Design and apply rules using byte_jump/test/extract rule options
  • Understand the concepts behind protocol modeling to write rules that perform better


The following prerequisites are recommended:

  • Technical understanding of TCP/IP networking and network architecture
  • Working knowledge of how to use and operate Cisco Sourcefire Systems or open source Snort
  • Working knowledge of command-line text editing tools, such as the vi editor
  • Basic rule-writing experience is suggested

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for technical professionals who need to know how to write rules and understand open source Snort language. The primary audience for this course includes:

  • Security administrators
  • Security consultants
  • Network administrators
  • System engineers
  • Technical support personnel
  • Channel partners and resellers


Module 1: Welcome to the Sourcefire Virtual Network
Module 2: Basic Rule Syntax and Usage
Module 3: Rule Optimization
Module 4: Using PCRE in Rules
Module 5: Using Byte_Jump/Test/Extract Rule Options
Module 6: Protocol Modeling Concepts and Using Flowbits in Rule Writing
Module 7: Case Sudies in Rule Writing and Packet Analysis
Module 8: Rule Performance Monitoring
Module 9: Rule Writing Practiceal Labs, Exercises, and Challenges

Lab Outline

Lab 1: Writing Custom Rules
Lab 2: Drop Rules
Lab 3: Replacing Content
Lab 4: SSH Rule Scenerio
Lab 5: Optimizing Rules
Lab 6: Using PCREtest to Test Regex Options
Lab 7:Use PCREtest to Test Custom Regular Expressions
Lab 8: Writing Rules That Contain PCRE
Lab 9: Detecting SADMIND Trust with Byte_Jump and Byte_test
Lab 10: Using the Bitwise AND Operation in Byte_Test Rule Option
Lab 11: Detecting ZenWorks Directory Traversal Using Byte_Extract
Lab 12: Writing a Flowbit Rule
Lab 13: Extra Flowbits Challenge
Lab 14: Strengthen Your Brute-Force Rule with Flowbits
Lab 15: Research and Packet Analysis
Lab 16: Revisiting the Kaminsky Vulnerability
Lab 17: Configuring Rule Profiling
Lab 18: Testing Rule Performance
Lab 19: Configure Rule Profiling to View PCRE Performance
Lab 20: Preventing User Access to a Restricted Site
Lab 21: SQL Injection
Lab 22: The SQL Attack Revisited