ACID: Installation and Configuration

Last Updated: October 9. 2002


  • PHP 4.0.4+ enabled web server


    The following is a step-by-step list of installing ACID.

    1. [OPTIONAL] Confirm Database Logging
    2. Prior to deploying ACID, successful logging of alerts from the sensor (be it Snort, logsnorter, etc.) to the database should be confirmed. ACID can only manage alerts stored in the database. Consult the appropriate documentation for database logging configuration specifics.

      In order to confirm successful logging, use the command-line database clients (or a graphical front-end tool) to execute the following SQL queries:

           [for MySQL]
             $ echo "SELECT count(*) FROM event" | mysql snort_db -u root -p
             (Note: the connection parameters used with mysql may vary with your
                    configuration. In this case, the mysql client will connect to
                    the 'snort_db' database as the 'root' user prompting for a
             This command should return output similar to the following.
           [for PostgreSQL]
             $ echo "SELECT count(*) FROM event" | psql -d snort_db -U root -W
             (Note: the connection parameters used with psql may vary with your
                    configuration. In this case, the PostgreSQL client will connect to
                    the 'snort_db' database as the 'root' user prompting for a
             This command should return output similar to the following.
             (1 rows) 
      In this example, both the MySQL and PostgreSQL database contained 1 alert. If no alerts are found in the database (i.e. a 0 is returned), then (obviously) nothing has been successfully logged.

    3. Confirm Database Permissions
    4. Confirm that the proper database permissions have been set for the database and tables used by ACID. The minimum permissions for each relation (table) are listed in Table 1.

      Table 1: Required database permissions on tables used by ACID
      Database Permission
      acid_ag X X X
      acid_ag_alert X X X
      acid_event X X X X
      acid_ip_cache X X X X
      data X X X
      detail X
      encoding X
      event X X X
      icmphdr X X X
      iphdr X X X
      opt X X X
      reference X X X X
      reference_system X X X X
      schema X
      sensor X X
      sig_class X X X X
      sig_reference X X X X
      signature X X X X
      tcphdr X X X
      udphdr X X X

      Table 2: Required database permissions on sequences used by ACID (PostgreSQL and MS-SQL)
      Database (sequence) Permission
      acid_ag_ag_id_seq X X
      reference_ref_id_seq X X
      reference_sys_ref_system_id_seq X X
      sensor_sid_seq X X
      sig_class_sig_class_id_seq X X
      signature_sig_id_seq X X

      The following SQL statement is an example of assigning permissions to database entities (tables).

          [MySQL and PostgreSQL] : GRANT select ON schema TO acid_user
          (Gives the SELECT privilege to the 'schema' table to user 'acid_user')

    5. Install Apache and PHP
    6. Install Apache, PHP (and GD). There are many configuration options whose specifics are best addressed by the appropriate package's documentation. Here are several suggestion.

    7. Modify the PHP Configuration
    8. Edit the PHP configuration file, php.ini, and make the following changes:
      [All OSes]
      • Set the 'display_errors' variable to 'off' (display_errors = off) for production deployments of ACID. This setting will prevent debugging messages from being included inline to the HTML. If it is desired to to have some debugging messages sent inline, then it is recommended to at least set the 'error_reporting' variable to 'E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE' (error_reporting = E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE).
      • (for ACID <= v0.9.6b21) Set the 'register_globals' variable to 'on' (register_globals=On)


      • Set the 'SMTP' variable to refer to your SMTP server.
      • Set the 'session.save_path' variable to a temporary directory writable by the web server (e.g. c:\temp).


      • Set the 'sendmail_path' variable to the full path to your mail transfer agent (MTA) such as sendmail.

    9. Start the Web Server
    10. Start the web server.

    11. Install ADODB 1.2+
    12. (for ACID v.0.9.6b2+) Uncompress and install ADODB 1.2+. This process should be as simple as copying the files into a directory viewable by the web server and PHP. In the case of Apache, any child directory of 'DocumentRoot' set in httpd.conf.
            $ cp adodb112.tgz /home/httpd/html
            $ cd /home/httpd/html
            $ tar xvfz adodb112.tgz
            $ cd ..

    13. Install the Graphing Library
    14. PHPlot 4.4.6+ (for ACID v. [0.9.6b9 - 0.9.6b21]) Uncompress and install PHPlot 4.4.6+. Again, this installation should involve only copying the files into a directory viewable by the web server and PHP.
            $ cp phplot-4.4.6.tar.gz /home/httpd/html
            $ cd /home/httpd/html
            $ tar xvfz phplot-4.4.6.tar.gz
            $ cd ..
      JPGraph 1.8+ (for ACID v.0.9.6b22+) Uncompress and install JPGraph 1.8+. This installation should involve copying the files into a directory viewable by the web server and PHP.
            $ cp jpgraph1.8.tar.gz /home/httpd/html
            $ cd /home/httpd/html
            $ tar xvfz jpgraph.1.8.tar.gz
            $ cd ..
      See the JPGraph README file for additional documentation.

    15. [OPTIONAL] Confirm GD Support
    16. (for ACID v. [0.9.6b9 - 0.9.6b21])
      Confirm that GD support has been properly configured in PHP by opening a browser and attempting to view the PHPlot diagnostics page examples/test_setup.php (the full URL will depend on where PHPlot was installed; e.g. http://mywebserver/phplot/examples/test_setup.php). If PHP has been configured correctly, at least one chart graphic should be seen on this page. Otherwise, PHP has not been configured correctly with GD support.

      The figure below (Figure 1), shows PHP with GD configured for PNG support (but not GIF).

      Figure 1: PHPlot Diagnostic Page

    17. Install ACID
    18. Uncompress and install ACID by copying and expanding it to a directory viewable by the web server and PHP.
            $ cp acid-0.9.6.tar.gz /home/httpd/html
            $ cd /home/httpd/html
            $ tar xvfz acid-0.9.6.tar.gz
            $ cd acid

    19. Verify Cookie Support
    20. Verify that cookie support in the browser is enabled.

      [Netscape 4.*]

      [Mozilla 0.9.3]

      [IE 5.*]


    1. Configure ACID
    2. The file 'acid_conf.php' controls the configuration of ACID.
      Note: 'acid_conf.php' is PHP code which will be included in each ACID page request. As such, it is imperative that the opening '<?php' and closing '?>' tags not be removed from the file. Likewise, no extra lines can be found before or after these '<?php' '?>' delimiters.

      All conventions of the PHP language (e.g. comments) apply to the 'acid_conf.php' file. For example, the comment characters are either a '//' or '/* ... */'.

                   // comment #1
                   /* multi-line comment #1
                      multi-line comment #2
      The general format of each configuration entry is:
             $<variable name> = <value>;
      Variable names are case sensitive.

      The following options will need to be set with site specific information in order for ACID to function properly. Aside from this minimal configuration, there are a number of other settings which can be tweaked. Please see for an exhaustive list.

             o $DBlib_path     : full path to the ADODB installation
                                 (Note: do not include a trailing '\' character)
             o $DBtype         : type of the database used ("mysql", "postgres")
             o $alert_dbname   : alert database name
             o $alert_host     : alert database server
             o $alert_port     : port where the database is stored
             o $alert_user     : username for the alert database
             o $alert_password : password for the username
             [OPTIONAL for alert archiving support]
             o $archive_dbname   : archive/backup database name
             o $archive_host     : archive database server
             o $archive_port     :
             o $archive_user     : "root";
             o $archive_password : "mypassword";
             [OPTIONAL for chart support]
             o $ChartLib_path     : full path to the PHPlot install
                                    (Note: do not include a trailing '\' character)
             o $chart_file_format : graphic format to use for generated charts
                                    ("png", "jpeg", "gif").  The selected format should
                                    have displayed correctly with the PHPlot diagnostic
                                    page (see Step 8)
             [OPTIONAL for Snort portscan pre-processor support]
             o $portscan_file  : full path to a Snort portscan log file

    3. Run ACID for the first time
    4. Open the acid_main.php page in a browser. If the any database changes are required, ACID will prompt for action. For new databases, several ACID specific tables will need to be created. When running ACID for the first time, an error message will appear:

      Click on the "Setup page" link to be brought to the DB configuration page (acid_db_setup.php). This next page will facilitate the creation of the necessary tables. Click on the "Create ACID AG" buttons as seen below.

      After the tables are created, ACID will return status indicating success.

    5. Read Security Information
    6. Read the security notes about deploying ACID.


    As with any software, an appropriate deployment strategy must be employed. The following are some recommendations and notes about the security of ACID.