How to Install and Configure AlienVault HIDs Agent on a Linux Host

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Install and Configure AlienVault HIDs Agent on a Linux Host

In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to install and configure AlienVault HIDS agent on a Linux host. AlienVault uses OSSEC HIDS agents for Host Intrusion Detection. To actively monitor all aspects of system activity; file integrity monitoring, log monitoring, rootcheck, and process monitoring, OSSEC agents that collect all these information and reports back to the server via encrypted message protocol needs to be installed.

Install AlienVault HIDs Agent on a Linux Host

Import or Add Hosts into AlienVault OSSIM

Before you can monitor any host, you need to import the hosts to AlienVault OSSIM server. Check the guide below to learn how to import the assets using CSV file.

Import Assets to AlienVault USM/OSSIM using a CSV file

Add HIDS Agent to OSSIM Server

Once the host is imported, add the HIDS agent for every host to OSSIM server as described below;

  • Login to OSSIM server web dashboard and navigate to Environment > Detection.
  • Under Detection, navigate to HIDS > Agents > Agent Control > Add Agent.
  • When you click on ADD AGENTS, a NEW HIDS AGENT windows opens up.
Install and Configure AlienVault HIDs Agent on a Linux Host
  • Enter the hostname/IP address of the host on search bar or select it from asset tree.
  • When you select a host, the Agent Name and IP address fields are populated automatically.
  • Click Save to save the agent information.
  • Once the agent is added, you can see the Agent Information. For instance the agent we just added is the first one and has an ID of 001.
agent info

Install OSSEC HIDS agent on a Linux Host

Install Required Packages

On CentOS and similar derivatives, run the command below to install required OSSEC HIDS agent build tools;

yum install gcc make libevent-devel zlib-devel openssl-devel pcre2-devel wget systemd-devel tar -y

On Ubuntu/Debian systems;

apt install gcc make libevent-dev zlib1g-dev  libssl-dev libpcre2-dev wget tar libsystemd-dev -y

Download OSSEC HIDS Installer Archive

Login to your Linux host and download the latest OSSEC HIDS agent installer from here and extract it as shown below.

wget -P /tmp/

Extract and Install OSSEC HIDS agent on Linux

Extract the OSSEC HIDS archive;

cd /tmp/
tar xzf 3.7.0.tar.gz

Once you have extracted, Navigate to extracted agent directory and execute the installation script.

cd ossec-hids-3.7.0/

When the installation launches, you will be prompted to provide some input. In most of those cases, just press ENTER to accept the default values.

The first prompts asks you to select the installation language which by default is English  abbreviated as [en]. Press Enter to accept the default.

The next prompt asks you verify the type of installation for which in our case, we are installing ossec-hids agent.

1- What kind of installation do you want (server, agent, local, hybrid or help)? agent

Once you chose the type of installation, press enter to continue. For the next prompt, chose /var/ossec as the installation environment.

2- Setting up the installation environment.

 - Choose where to install the OSSEC HIDS [/var/ossec]: ENTER

    - Installation will be made at  /var/ossec .

Next, enter the IP address of the server.

3- Configuring the OSSEC HIDS.

  3.1- What's the IP Address or hostname of the OSSEC HIDS server?:

   - Adding Server IP

For the next prompts, press ENTER to accept defaults. You may need to dsiable Active Response for now;

  3.2- Do you want to run the integrity check daemon? (y/n) [y]: y

   - Running syscheck (integrity check daemon).

  3.3- Do you want to run the rootkit detection engine? (y/n) [y]: y

   - Running rootcheck (rootkit detection).

  3.4 - Do you want to enable active response? (y/n) [y]: n

   - Active response disabled.

  3.5- Setting the configuration to analyze the following logs:
    -- /var/log/messages
    -- /var/log/secure
    -- /var/log/maillog

 - If you want to monitor any other file, just change 
   the ossec.conf and add a new localfile entry.
   Any questions about the configuration can be answered
   by visiting us online at .
   --- Press ENTER to continue ---

If installation is successful, you should get this output:

 - System is Redhat Linux.
 - Init script modified to start OSSEC HIDS during boot.

 - Configuration finished properly.

 - To start OSSEC HIDS:
      /var/ossec/bin/ossec-control start

 - To stop OSSEC HIDS:
      /var/ossec/bin/ossec-control stop

 - The configuration can be viewed or modified at /var/ossec/etc/ossec.conf

    Thanks for using the OSSEC HIDS.
    If you have any question, suggestion or if you find any bug,
    contact us at or using
    our public maillist at!forum/ossec-list

    More information can be found at

    ---  Press ENTER to finish (maybe more information below). ---

 - You first need to add this agent to the server so they 
   can communicate with each other. When you have done so,
   you can run the 'manage_agents' tool to import the 
   authentication key from the server.

   More information at:

Extract Agent Registration Key from OSSIM Server

Once the agent is installed, you need to Import the key for the agent from the server.

Login to server web dashboard and navigate to Environment > Detection > HIDS > Agent and extract the key of specific agent by clicking on the key button, and copy the key.

Import and Connect HIDS agent into OSSIM Server

On the host, run the following command to import the key, enter option I, paste the key and confirm adding the key. Then enter Q to exit.


* OSSEC HIDS v3.7.0 Agent manager. *
* The following options are available: *
(I)mport key from the server (I).
Choose your action: I or Q: I

* Provide the Key generated by the server.
* The best approach is to cut and paste it.
*** OBS: Do not include spaces or new lines.

Paste it here (or '\q' to quit): MDAxIGRyc2VydmVyIDE5Mi4xNjguNDMuMjM3IGM5MmVmZTBlMmY5ODMyNzc3ZjhmOGJhYTNhNzk4OGI1MzllZTIxYzMxMmYyZmNiNjZkYzA3ODU0NGI0M2MzOTI=

Agent information:
IP Address:

Confirm adding it?(y/n): y

Start HIDS Agent

Start and Enable OSSEC agent to start on system reboot

systemctl enable ossec
systemctl start ossec

You can verify that the agent is communicating with the server by checking the ossec agent logs as shown below.

tail /var/ossec/logs/ossec.log

2023/05/13 17:18:17 ossec-agentd: INFO: Started (pid: 3677).
2023/05/13 17:18:17 ossec-agentd: INFO: Server 1:
2023/05/13 17:18:17 ossec-agentd: INFO: Trying to connect to server, port 1514.
2023/05/13 17:18:17 INFO: Connected to at address, port 1514


On the Server, restart OSSEC HIDS.

Navigate to Environment > Detection > HIDS > HIDS Control > HIDS service is UP > RESTART.

Verify Agent Status on OSSIM Server

If you check the status of the agent on Environment > Detection > HIDS > Agent, it should be active and it should now be able to send logs to OSSIM server.

active agent

In case you experience any hitch, you can use the log path mentioned above to find out what the issue is.

You can also check HIDS logs from the server, Environment > Detection > HIDS > HIDS Control > HIDS LOG.

You have now successfully installed and set up OSSEC HIDS agent on a Linux host and should be able to monitor the host.

Other Tutorials

Install and Configure AlienVault HIDs Agent on Windows System Host

how to install OSSEC agent on Ubuntu 18.04/CentOS 7


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2 thoughts on “How to Install and Configure AlienVault HIDs Agent on a Linux Host”

  1. Hello- followed your steps and can not get installed. I get the below after entering all the questions. Ubuntu 19.04 server.

    5- Installing the system
    – Running the Makefile
    ./ 105: ./ make: not found

    Error 0x5.
    Building error. Unable to finish the installation.


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