Security Investigate

Space-Time Tradeoffs in Software-Based Deep Packet Inspection

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Executive Summary

Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) lies at the core of contemporary Network Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems and Web Application Firewalls. DPI aims to identify various malware (including spam and viruses) by inspecting both the header and the payload of each packet and comparing it to a known set of patterns. DPI is often performed on the critical path of the packet processing, thus the overall performance of the security tools is dominated by the speed of DPI. The seminal algorithm of Aho-Corasick (AC) is the defacto standard for pattern matching in Network Intrusion Detection Systems (NIDS). Basically, the AC algorithm constructs a Deterministic Finite Automaton (DFA) for detecting all occurrences of a given set of patterns by processing the input in a single pass.

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