agentsmith is a daemon that continuously monitors a log file for break-in attempts by remote hosts. Upon detection of a break-in attempt, it launches a user defined script or application, which can do virtually anything from sending mail messages to whatever else you might think of. The criteria for what is considered a break-in attempt can be configured by means of a regular expression.
syslog-notify, a utilty for modern Linux (and other Unix-like) desktops, provides a pop-up display for messages that would otherwise be written unnoticed to the system logs. The choice of messages to display (from all messages to only the most critical) is completely configurable through the standard syslog configuration files. Popups are handled via the freedesktop.org notification standard, and thus are fully integrated with the desktop environment.