For several years on my internet connected Linux machines I have run file based intrusion detection software to make sure changes to files on those systems are authorized. Having a server online without any form of file based intrusion detection is very silly. Without knowing what files changed on your system how do you know you are all alone on that workstation/server? How can you feel warm and cozy not knowing for sure what actually changed?

There are several software packages that can do this level of intrusion detection, some commercial, some open source. I personally like AIDE.

AIDE stands for Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment, and is a file and directory integrity checker. What I like about AIDE is it’s relative simplicity and configurable.

Basically AIDE is capable of performing multiple types of hashes on files on the file system. You can pick your favorite hash(s) to use on the files on your system, such as md5, sha1, tiger, etc. This allows you to combat against hash collision attacks.

Another aspect of AIDE I personally like is the ability to use regular expressions to specify which files and directories should be included/excluded from the IDS check.

To get started, install aide (your package manager probably has aide), then run the following command to initialize aide:

aide --init
sudo cp /var/lib/aide/ /var/lib/aide/aide.db

Very Simple, right?

If you are using the Debian package it most likely will setup a daily crontask for emailing reporting to root@localhost. If not you can make your own crontjob to accomplish this:

Now to setup daily reporting, we just need to make a cronjob:

0 1 * * * /usr/bin/aide -C

You will likely notice that you might want to not care about changes to certain locations. You can ignore directories with this syntax in the aide.conf config file:


Hope this was helpful to anyone.