5+ best intrusion detection software [IDS Tools]

Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
Radu Tyrsina has been a Windows fan ever since he got his first PC, a Pentium III (a monster at that time). For most of the kids of his age, the Internet was an... Read more
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  • Intrusion detection software for Windows will actively scan your device for threats.
  • Having a good Windows IDS that uses the latest protection technology is mandatory.
  • We've included the best premium IDS software that can also remove any found threats.
  • Some of these programs have free trials for you to try out before you buy.
best IDS for Windows
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Intrusion detection software for Windows checks for changes that are made by all sorts of unwanted programs that could be injected into your system by cybercriminals.

These tools study the data packets, both incoming and outgoing, to check what kind of data transfers are at hand. It will alert you in case they find any kind of suspicious activity on the system or in the network.

Intrusion detection software exists as an answer to the increasing frequency of attacks made on systems.

Such tools usually inspect the host configuration for risky settings, password files, and more areas. Then, they detect all kinds of violations that could prove dangerous for the network.

IDS also set in place various ways for the network to record any suspicious activities and potential attack methods and to report them to the admin.

In other words, an IDS is quite similar to the Windows firewall but more than guarding against attacks from outside the network, an IDS is also able to identify suspicious activity from within the network.

Some IDS software are also able to respond to the potential intrusion. This is Host Intrusion Prevention System software (HIPS) or just IPS (Intrusion Prevention System).

Generally speaking, an Intrusion Detection Software for Windows shows what is happening. The IPS solutions also act upon the known threats.

There are some products which combine these two features, and we’ll present to you the best on the market.

Best intrusion detection systems to install on PC

ESET Internet Security

ESET Internet Security will actively protect your PC from any kind of threats. The software will ensure that your sensitive data, banking transactions, passwords, login credentials, and your webcam are safe.

ESET uses advanced AI and machine learning to create proactive protection which will stop known malware and emerging ones from entering and infecting your device.

Since it is corss-platform, the antivirus is ready to secure all kinds of devices, such as Android phones, iPhones, Linux and Windows computers, or MACs.

Here is a list with its core features:

  • Privacy protection
  • Anti-theft measurements
  • Lightweight software with minimal power usage
  • Secure active scanning and malware removal
ESET Internet Security

ESET Internet Security

ESET Internet Security utilizes advanced AI to scan your computer for harmful software and keep your system safe.

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Avast Free Antivirus

One other great malware detection software is Avast Free Antivirus. The program also uses advanced AI to optimize its scans and find all harmful software and viruses on your PC.

The free version of this program comes with the malware scanner and removal tool which is more than enough for those who want to keep their data secured.

If you choose to upgrade to the premium version, you’ll benefit from these key features:

  • Premium malware scanner and removal
  • PC cleaner and optimizer
  • Customer support and remove control
  • Wi-fi inspector
Avast Free Antivirus

Avast Free Antivirus

Avast Free Antivirus gives you more than any other competitors, providing excellent antivirus protection for free.

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Bitdefender Internet Security

Bitdefender is self-proclaimed global leader in cyber security, protecting millions of users around the world from online threats.

The software is equipped with multilayered protection to ensure nothing gets past its real-time scanning. In addition, the program is lightweight and doesn’t consume resources from your computer.

Bitdefender Internet Security will perform periodic scans, and it will actively take care of your online data and privacy, prohibiting any intruding software to steal it.

Let’s have a look at the software’s key features:

  • Multiplatform protection
  • Privacy firewall
  • Parental control, perfect for keeping children safe
  • Multilayered antivirus, malware, ransomware, adware protection
Bitdefender Internet Security

Bitdefender Internet Security

Bitdefender Internet Security is an award-winning antivirus with an unbeatable virus protection.

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Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection

Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection

According to Malwarebytes, the industry-leading security software manufacturer, there is no better protection strategy than proactive prevention and we couldn’t agree more.

Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection is an advanced IDS solution for endpoints that uses a layered approach packed with multiple detection techniques to identify and keep malware and other cyber threats away from your systems.

It delivers best-in-class protection against both known and unknown malware, ransomware, and zero-hour threats within one unified solution meant to reduce costs and to simplify the deployment process.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Web protection (against malicious websites and ad networks)
  • Application hardening (reduces vulnerability exploit surface)
  • Application behavior protection (prevents apps’ leveraging and endpoint infection)
  • Mitigation (blocks ransomware and attempts to execute code on the endpoint from the distance)
  • Machine learning-based anomaly detection
  • Pre and post-execution layered detection techniques
  • Centralized cloud-console (for easy cloud-enabled deployment and management)
Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection

Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection

The best protection strategy is prevention. Keep your endpoints safe with Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection!

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Malware Defender

This is a free Windows-compatible IPS software that provides network protection for its advanced users.

The software will successfully handle intrusion prevention and also malware detection. It is very well-suited for home use even if it’s instructional material is a bit too complex for average users.

Acting as a host intrusion prevention system, the tool monitors a single host for any kind of suspicious activity.

Malware Defender was initially a commercial program, but its excellent features changed its ownership a while ago, and then a new version was released that was freeware.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Default installation into learning mode to reduce the number of initial alerts to a minimum
  • Files, registry, application modules, and network protection
  • Connection Monitor (the perfect companion to Windows native firewall, with more detailed control)

The software is an excellent performer, but its only minus would be the fact that its complexities make it unsuitable for the average user.

On the other hand, all mistakes can be rectified by changing rule permission from the log entries.

Although if you have already denied a vital system function you won’t be able to do much more to get things back the way they were before, so you should pay attention.

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Snort for Windows

Snort_best IDS

Snort for Windows is an open-source network intrusion software that delivers real-time traffic analysis and packet logging on IP networks.

The software is able to perform protocol analysis, content searching/matching, and can be used to detect a variety of attacks and probes, such as buffer overflows.

It will also analyze stealth port scans, CGI attacks, SMB probes, OS fingerprinting attempts and much more.

The program is straightforward to deploy, and it has a huge number of open-source developers. The Snort community supports the software, but it also provides the core rule sets for some commercial IDS/IPS products.

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Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Returns everything that it sees including detailed packet decodes
  • Easy configuration to only present alerts from its set of rules
  • Robust tools for gathering and for analyzing network traffic.
  • Deployment across very large network infrastructures is also possible

Due to its ability to be quickly deployed, to its very comprehensive capabilities and its great open source community support, Snort is usually everyone’s favorite.

There is also the commercial version which is available as an appliance from Sourcefire, and it’s guided by Snort’s developer as its CEO.

Roesch managed to blend perfectly the best parts of the open-source and the commercial worlds into the Sourcefire offerings.

Get Snort for Windows


The Bro Network Security Monitor / Zeek

The Bro Zeek IDS

This is a powerful network analysis framework that is very different from the typical IDS you may have known until now. Bro’s domain-specific scripting language will enable site-specific monitoring policies.

The program comes packed with analyzers for lots of protocols, and it enables high-level semantic analysis in the application layer. It also keeps a great application-layer state about the network that it monitors.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • No traditional signatures (interfaces with other applications for real-time exchange of information)
  • Comprehensive logs archive
  • Targets especially high-performance networks

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While the program focuses on network security monitoring, it will provide users a comprehensive platform for more general network traffic analysis as well.

It is well-grounded in more than 15 years of research the software managed to successfully bridge the traditional gap between the academic and operations since its very beginning.

The user community of Bro includes some major universities, supercomputing centers, research labs, and also lots of open-science communities.

Note icon
NOTE
Update: The Bro has undertaken a rebranding process and it is now known as Zeek.

Try The Bro Network security monitor


OSSEC Free IDS for Businesses

This is an open-source host-based IDS that performs file integrity checking, log analysis, policy monitoring, rootkit detection, real-time alerting, and active responses and it runs on almost all platforms including Windows.

The software watches it all, and it actively monitors all aspects of the system activity. With this program, you will not be in the dark regarding what is happening to your valuable computer assets anymore.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Real-time analytics and insights into your network security events (via alert logs and email alerts)
  • Full host-based intrusion detection across multiple platforms
  • Fully open-source, and free to use
  • Fully customizable (extensive configuration options, add your very own customized alert rules and writing scripts, modify the source code and  add new capabilities)
  • Detect and alert unauthorized file system modifications and malicious behavior based on entries in the log files

Get OSSEC Free IDS


Securing your enterprise these days doesn’t have to be a nightmare and a back-breaking ordeal. All the solutions that we mentioned above will provide you industrial-strength protection against all intrusion attempts.

All these tools combine the most popular open-source security software into one unified solution stack that will be easy enough to install and use. So feel free to pick your favorite one according to your needs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • For commercial use, our recommendation goes to Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection – a complete suite of protection and prevention tools to cover your entire business.

  • Malware Defender is well-known for its capacity to detect and prevent network violations. However, all of the tools on this list are up for this task. Check out this complete guide.

  • Intrusion detection software check for damages that could be injected into your system with cyber threats, inspect the host configuration for risky settings and alert you in case they find any kind of suspicious activity. If you want to learn more about online dangers, take a closer look at our thorough article dedicated to malware.

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