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How to Install Snort on CentOS


Rowell Dionicio

Part 1 Installing Snort on CentOS


Part 2 Installing PulledPork and Barnyard2
Part 3 Installing Snorby
Snort is a powerful intrusion prevention/detection system. This is a three part series going through the installation
of Snort, the auto updating of rule sets via Pulledpork, configuration of Barnyard2 which will process Snorts
output, and the installation of a web front end gui called Snorby to help analyze those alerts.
The configuration I have outlined will run Snort as an IDS thus only gathering information on traffic it can see.
Snort is open source and is a product of Sourcefire. For $2.7 Billion, Sourcefire was acquired by Cisco in 2013.
We will be going over the installation of Snort version 2.9.6.2 on CentOS 6.5 Minimal.
Prior to installing Snort it is important to have accurate time configured. Check the current date with the command:
[root@snort-beta]# date
Tue Jul 15 08:42:28 PDT

Install ntpdate
[root@snort-beta]# yum install -y ntpdate
[root@snort-beta]# ntpdate 0.us.pool.ntp.org

Install Dependencies
Were going to install some dependencies which will be needed going forward. Since we are also using CentOS
minimal we will need to install a few applications.
yum install -y wget gcc flex bison zlib zlib-devel libpcap libpcap-devel pcre pcredevel tcpdump mysql mysql-server mysql-devel git libtool curl man
Now lets create a temporary directory to store some files we will be downloading.
mkdir tmp && cd tmp
Next we need to install more dependencies.
wget http://pkgs.repoforge.org/libdnet/libdnet-1.11-1.1.el3.rf.x86_64.rpm
wget http://pkgs.repoforge.org/libdnet/libdnet-devel-1.11-1.1.el3.rf.x86_64.rpm
Use the rpm command to install the dependencies we just downloaded.
rpm -i libdnet-1.11-1.1.el3.rf.x86_64.rpm
rpm -i libdnet-devel-1.11-1.1.el3.rf.x86_64.rpm

Install Snort
Im downloading the rpm files from Snort.org
yum install -y https://www.snort.org/downloads/snort/daq-2.0.2-1.centos6.x86_64.rpm

yum install -y https://www.snort.org/downloads/snort/snort-2.9.6.21.centos6.x86_64.rpm


I recommend signing up on Snort.org to get the registered rules. Youll receive something called an Oinkcode. The
oinkcode acts as an api key for downloading rule packets from URLs provided by snort.
Download and extract the Community Rules:
wget https://www.snort.org/downloads/community/community-rules.tar.gz
tar -xvf community.tar.gz -C /etc/snort/rules
Download the registered rules. Be aware of which file you need. It depends on which version of Snort youre
running. In this case, I am running 2.9.6.2 so I am looking for the snort rules which contain the numbers 2962:
wget https://www.snort.org/downloads/registered/snortrules-snapshot-2962.tar.gz?
oinkcode=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
tar -xvf snortrules-snapshot-2962.tar.gz -C /etc/snort/rules
Paste your oincode after the = sign.
Modify the ownership of the Snort directories.
cd /etc/snort
chown -R snort:snort *

Locate and Modify the snort.conf file


cd /etc/snort
vi snort.conf
There are many changes to make here. You can download an example of my snort.conf file and modify it to your
environment. Some of the values are as follows. Just search for them in your configuration file:
var RULE_PATH /etc/snort/rules
ipvar HOME_NET any #or set to a network such as 172.21.0.0/16
ipvar EXTERNAL_NET !$HOME_NET
var SO_RULE_PATH /etc/snort/rules/so_rules
var PREPROC_RULE_PATH /etc/snort/rules/preproc_rules
var WHITE_LIST_PATH /etc/snort/rules
var BLACK_LIST_PATH /etc/snort/rules
Modify the Output string under Step 6 of the snort.conf file:
output unified2: filename snort.log, limit 128

Test Snort
Use this command to run Snort in test mode. It will tell you if there is anything wrong with running Snort.
snort -T -i <interface-name> -u snort -g snort -c /etc/snort/snort.conf
If you get this error:

snort: error while loading shared libraries: libdnet.1: cannot open shared object file: No such file or
directory

Type in the following commands:


/sbin/ldconfig
updatedb
-T is the self-test mode switch.
-i tells Snort what interface to use to gather traffic. You need to specific the interface youre using right after.
-u sets the user that will run the process.
-g sets the group that will run the process.
-c sets the configuration file to use.

Modify /etc/sysconfig/snort
Modify the Snort sysconfig file which holds variables for the startup file:
Change the interface which Snort is using to the interface you will use on your server to sniff traffic.
Comment out ALERTMODE and BINARY_LOG. If you dont do this your alerts will not write to the MySQL
database in a later setup.

Viewing Logs
If the self-test runs successfully you can run Snort without the -T switch and replace it with a -D, for daemon. It will
run Snort in the background. Once Snort is running and sniffing traffic, it should output to /var/log/snort.
The snort.log file will be in Unified2 format which means you cant open it in Wireshark. Anything Snort thinks is
bad will trigger an alert. All alerts go into a file called alert within /var/log/snort/.
For now, you have Snort running and dumping logs into a directory. Next up in this series I will discuss auto
updating your Snort rule sets using Pulledpork.

Resources
My working snort.conf file. Ive disabled most of the rules except one. This was only to get a simple test going.
Here is an example of my /etc/sysconfig/snort file.