[Snort-users] Meaning of priority?

Erek Adams erek at ...577...
Fri Jul 5 10:14:08 EDT 2002

On Fri, 5 Jul 2002 carold at ...158... wrote:

> RTFM says that "The priority tag assigns a severity level to rules."
> However, could somebody explain what is the functional meaning? I have
> verified that it is not *processing* priority.

It's simply a value _you_ as the admin of snort assign.  As an admin, you
should tune your rules for your network.  Consider what's important to you and
flag it as such.  Then edit classification.config to your needs.

> Is it just a tag for the output processing? If yes, is it not illogical that
> processing priority can contradict output priority, such as:
> alert tcp any any -> $mynet 80 (msg:"web access"; priority:3;)
> alert tcp any any -> $secrethost any (msg:"nobody should go there";
> priority:1);
> In the example above, web traffic to $secrethost will be logged as priority
> 3 even though any traffic to this particular destination should be priority
> 1.

Only if $secrethost was inside of $mynet.  :)

> Somebody could suggest that I can just swap the two rules and everything
> will be fine. I would agree with this particular case but not in general.
> Default snort rule blocks are arranged by topic (web, dns, etc.), not by
> priority, so it is common that less severe rules might get triggered before
> more severe for the same event.

You've hit upon a good point.  Consider this for a moment:  If you understand
enough about how things work to 'notice' this, then wouldn't you also _not_
use the 'standard' rules as shipped?  Wouldn't you as a snort-admin have taken
the time to clean, prune and tweak the rulesets?  If so, ordering them in a
more 'logical' fashion for your network and priorities would be a natural.
Many folks who are running snort don't even consider this.  They just want
something that 'works out of the box'.  :)


Erek Adams

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