Free Network Intrusion Detection & Prevention System for Windows PC



  -  3.1 MB  -  Open Source
  • Latest Version

    Snort 3.1.84 LATEST

  • Review by

    Daniel Leblanc

  • Operating System

    Windows XP64 / Vista64 / Windows 7 64 / Windows 8 64 / Windows 10 64 / Windows 11

  • User Rating

    Click to vote
  • Author / Product

    Cisco Systems, Inc. / External Link

  • Filename


Snort is an advanced network monitoring tool that can allow seasoned PC users with a wide array of security and network-intrusion detection and prevention tools for protecting home PCs, networks, and network usage of standalone apps.

It comes bundled with a wide array of rule-based procedures that quickly and reliably can detect abnormal usages of network bandwidth and help you detect intrusions and suspicious packet traffic coming from both inside and outside your local network. Because of its lightweight package, reliable usage, and proven results, ithas become one of the most widely IDS / IPS software applications, used regularly by advanced PC users, networking managers and security experts from all around the world.

Cisco Snort for Windows 11/10 is capable of easily detecting anomalous packet usage by running real-time diagnostics on your networking traffic, using highly sophisticated anomaly-based scanning and detection of particular database signatures. It provides not only real-time alerts but also fully-featured analytics.

For proper integration into your local network, before starting using Snort on your PC you first need to install WinPcap, a popular application for unlocking direct packet access and an ability to read raw network data without any overhead.

The app is most commonly used as a real-time traffic monitoring tool, packet tracker/sniffer, TCP/IP packet logger, security tool, intrusion detector, network analyzing tool, and one early-warning alarm for new and undiscovered network events, exploits and vulnerabilities.


Because of its enterprise-focus and the requirement of having low-level access to network monitoring, It does not feature a flashy user interface. It comes in a small sub-5 MB installation package that installs the application on your local hard drive quickly. To access the app, you first need to open your CMD (DOS-like) interface and load the app manually. Upon the first use, we recommend loading up the help listing of all available commands by simply typing “snort.exe -h” in your CMD line.

To successfully take full advantage of Snort’s capabilities, you will need to learn to use these commands lines and let them help you detect any anomalous network traffic usage.

Get Started

Download and install the source code

git clone

There are separate extras packages for cmake that provide additional features and demonstrate how to build plugins.

Sign up and get your Oinkcode - a unique identifier that must be entered into your Snort instance that will automatically pull in Snort rules. All users have access to the Registered Rule Set. In order to get the latest detections (Subscriber Rule Set) you can upgrade your subscription at any time.

  • World-renowned network intrusion, prevention, and detection tool.
  • Real-time analysis of networking traffic and sent packets.
  • Rule-based traffic analysis and logging.
  • One of the most deployed IDS / IPS software in the world.
  • Supports packet recording into directory or database (MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and ODBC)
  • Lightweight and fast.
  • Reliable and flexible.
  • Optimized for all versions of Windows OS.
  • 100% FREE!

Real-time Packet Analysis: It captures and analyzes network packets as they traverse your network, allowing it to detect threats as they occur.

Extensive Rule-Based Detection: It relies on a vast library of pre-defined rules to identify known and emerging threats. Users can also create custom rules to suit their specific security needs.

Protocol Support: It supports a wide range of network protocols, including TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP, DNS, and more, making it highly adaptable to diverse network environments.

Logging and Alerting: It logs detected threats and can send alerts via email, syslog, or other custom actions, ensuring that administrators are promptly notified of potential security incidents.

Advanced Threat Detection: Snort's flexibility allows for advanced detection techniques, such as anomaly-based detection, which can help identify previously unknown threats.

Community and Commercial Versions: It offers both a free community version and a commercial version called "Snort Subscriber Rule Set," which provides more comprehensive protection with regularly updated rules.

User Interface

It primarily operates through the command-line interface (CLI), which may require some familiarity with Linux or Unix-like systems. Additionally, users can leverage various graphical front-ends and third-party management tools to simplify configuration and monitoring. While the CLI is powerful, a more user-friendly graphical interface would be a welcome addition for less experienced users.

How to Use
  • Install Snort on your chosen Linux distribution following the provided documentation.
  • Configure network interfaces that Snort will monitor and analyze.
  • Create or download rule sets tailored to your network's security requirements.
  • Start Snort with the chosen configuration.
  • Monitor alerts and logs generated by Snort to identify potential threats.
  • Regularly update rule sets to stay protected against new threats.

Is Snort suitable for both small and large networks?
Yes, Snort is scalable and can be configured to protect networks of all sizes, from small home networks to large enterprise environments.

How often are Snort's detection rules updated?
Snort's community rules are updated frequently, while the Snort Subscriber Rule Set is updated even more regularly, ensuring up-to-date threat detection.

Can I use Snort on Windows?
While Snort is primarily designed for Unix-like systems, there are Windows ports available, although the Linux-based version is more commonly used.

Does Snort offer any form of real-time reporting or visualization?
Snort itself focuses on detection and alerting. Users often integrate it with other tools, such as SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solutions, for advanced reporting and visualization.

Is Snort easy to learn for someone without extensive IT experience?
It may have a learning curve for newcomers, but resources like tutorials and community support can help users get started.


Suricata: An open-source NIDS similar to this app with support for multi-threading and a user-friendly interface.

Zeek (formerly Bro): Another powerful open-source network analysis framework with scripting capabilities.

Security Onion: A full-fledged security monitoring distribution based on Ubuntu that includes Snort, Suricata, and other essential tools.


It offers a free community version with extensive features. For more advanced features and commercial support, the Subscriber Rule Set is available at various pricing tiers based on network size and needs. Pricing details can be found on the official Cisco website.

System Requirements
  • Operating System: Windows, Linux or Unix-like system (e.g., Ubuntu, CentOS)
  • CPU: 2 GHz or higher
  • RAM: 2 GB or more
  • Storage: 20 GB or more for rule sets and logs
  • Network Interfaces: One or more interfaces for monitoring traffic
  • Effective intrusion detection with a wide range of detection methods.
  • Extensive rule library for detecting known threats.
  • Scalable for networks of all sizes.
  • Active community support and regular rule updates.
  • Offers both a free community version and a commercial subscription.
  • Command-line interface may be intimidating for beginners.
  • Installation and initial setup can be complex.
  • Lacks built-in real-time reporting and visualization tools.
  • Custom rule creation requires a good understanding of network protocols.
  • The commercial version may be costly for larger enterprises.

Cisco Snort is a powerful and versatile open-source network intrusion detection system that excels at identifying and mitigating security threats. Its extensive rule library and active community support make it a valuable addition to any network security strategy.

While it may require some technical expertise to set up and use effectively, the benefits in terms of enhanced network security and threat detection are well worth the effort. Consider using Snort in conjunction with other security tools and monitoring solutions to create a robust defense against cyber threats.

Note: Requires WinPcap.

What's new in this version:

Snort 3.1.84
- appid: enhanced appid config parsing
- appid: remove locks from peg counts
- appid: separate main thread and packet thread appid_pub_id
- dce_smb: fixing an ASAN memory corruption issue
- detection: handle policy changes in continuation
- framework: add correct cast from double to unsigned
- http_inspect: add file_data to buffer list
- packet_capture: include cstdint in a header file
- xhash: fixed typo

Snort 3.1.83
- detection: use correct packet in trace logs
- doc: add libml to optional dependencies
- flow: add filter to dump flows
- flow: fix UT
- hash: exception handling for random device
- packet_capture: fixed wrong dlt in pcap header when nfq is used
- stream: count retransmits when we disable content rules
- trace: replace colon delimiter for tenant with whitespace in the trace_logger output

Snort 3.1.82
Optional dependencies:
- To use Snort ML(snort_ml inspector), please download libML and Snort Rules (Talos_LightSPD) from version 2024-03-13-001 onwards

- appid: broadcast commands with ctrlcon
- appid: change eve pattern matching logic
- appid: replaced warning log with logging api for CBD
- file_api: do not clear the file capture and user file data pointers when updating the verdict from the cache
- filters: updated dyn array with vector
- flow: updated flow_data linklist with STL container
- framework: validate parameter of number type in a string form
- kaizen: rename to Snort ML
- main: clear lua stack when registering commands in a shell
- main: reset main-thread stats from the main thread
- main: update limits help
- packet_capture: add packet capturing per tenant
- sfip: remove references to unused mode feature
- sfip: zero out var/node pointers after operations to remedy heap-use-after-free on reload
- smb: fix for improper session cache destruction in tterm during config reload
- snort2lua: change deprecated use of ptr_fn to lambda
- stats: fix timing stats
- stats: perf improvement changes
- stream: remove splitter from session before inspectors
- stream_tcp: add reasons for drops due to trims
- stream_tcp: implement support for proxy mode normalization behavior
- stream_tcp: update documentation for stream TCP alerts to include the new 129:21 and 129:22 alerts
- trace: add tenants logging

Snort 3.1.81
- appid: check tenant_match() if required
- appid: log error message instead of fatal error if appid stats logfile is not accessible
- appid: Lowering max packet count before service fail
- control: Adds counting to ctrlcon blocked to allow for nested commands
- detection: add c'tors, use new instead of snort_calloc
- detection: copy ip var name in dup_rtn
- flow: added ips event suppression flags
- host_cache: fixed update_stats to remove race_condition
- http_inspect: recreate JSNorm if reload takes place inside transaction
- ips_context: add lazy-allocation of alt buffer
- kaizen: provide an option to enable Kaizen's mock
- kaizen: remove redundant semicolon and add explicit cast
- kaizen: rename modules
- lua: improve spell of wizard for HTTP
- memory: prevent data race between main and packet threads
- service_inspectors: add check for JSNorm config actuality
- stream_tcp: add alerts for exceeding thresholds for max queued bytes or segments
- stream_tcp: add check to verify seglist head is not nullptr and only initialize PAF when it is not
- utils: add macro for setting thread name

Snort 3.1.78
- appid: print odp version and odp detector count on startup
- copyright: update year to 2024
- doc: update arg list for "". Add parity to "generate_" scripts arg list
- main: fix inconsistent lua variables assignment
- parser: fix --dump-rule-meta for negated ports

Snort 3.1.77
- appid: add http3 to the list of ssl protocols as http3 will always be inside quic and encrypted
- appid: do not delete hsession for http3
- appid: fix coverity issues
- appid: lua logging doc update
- build: arm compilation support
- catch: add boost software license for catch.hpp
- detection: adjust built-in GID range to 40-999
- detection: collect matched buffers on IpsContext
- flow: add tenant ID to FlowKey
- host_cache: fix race condition on peg counts
- http_inspect: publish HTTP/1 request bodies, track MIME boundary
- main: fix reload_id data race
- parser: add CWD to conf search order
- profiler: change time tracking for "rule_time (%)" field in rule_profiler output
- profiler: dump memory profiler stats at frequent interval
- pub_sub: add get_client_body and is_mime methods
- ssl: stopping inspection once client or server app packet is found
- utils: add get_file_size
- appid: added missed cppcheck warning
- appid: adding support for memory profiling of third party lib
- appid: additional check for lua logging
- appid: fixing coverity issues
- dns: fix parsing 'additionals' section in dns response
- flow_cache: added new protocol base counters
- pegs: make add_peg_count and set_peg_count protected to be available for the derived class
- perf_mon: fix variable name issue reported by cppcheck