What is the Importance of Intrusion Prevention Systems IDS/IPS

Numerous security professionals incorporate either network-based intrusion detection systems (IDS) or network-based intrusion prevention systems (IPS) on their networks. Identifying malicious traffic is made possible via IPS and IDS. The system is designed for watching the traffic going through their networks and is programmed to identify an exploit against the operating system it is installed on. Examples of these exploit include buffer overflows, cross-site scripting, and other vulnerabilities. The system works by identifying traffic patterns that are known to be generated by the many tools used for hacking and malicious activities.

intrusion detection system

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)

If there is an attack on the system, the IDS is charged with analyzing traffic that passes through the system. It identifies any abnormality in the system, and it sends an alert via email or text to working servers. Functioning of Intrusion systems varies, which are united by their running through a network normalization process where they learn the normal functions of the network. In this way, they realize the difference between normal functions and malfunctions. In short, IDS detects and sends alerts.

Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)

There are multiple ways to engineer an IPS into a system. One possibility is to configure it as a passive monitoring device in an out-of-band response. An out of band response means that IPS will receive a copy of the traffic and decide the type of action that the traffic demands. The passive monitoring clarifies that IPS is not the direct receiver as it passes the information via a third party or a switch. Thus, IPS are not part of the traffic flow but rather out of the band of communication.

For this reason, if traffic does travel through the network and IPS receives a copy and then identifies the traffic as malicious, it sends a TCP reset frame to both the source of the communication and the destination. The TCP reset aims to crumble the connection between the servers, thus preventing them from communicating and sending traffic to each other.

However, for enhanced control over these traffics, configuring the IPS for in-line monitoring is preferred. In this way, all the traffic directly passes through the IPS instead of IPS being the third party. Hence, the IPS decides whether the traffic should be allowed to traverse the network or not.

Rules of operating IPS

IPS functions on the set of predefined rules that are chosen by the professional working on it. This is because there are numerous rules and, therefore, can be customized as per requirement. For this reason, the reaction to the unwanted traffic can be changed accordingly. The users can either allow, block, or send an alert to the system as demanded. Nevertheless, setting these rules is time-consuming and requires the right balance between the rules that are needed. Thus, Intrusion prevents systems from creating a variety of false positives (false alarms or cases of mistaken identity) and alerts in the system.

More unfortunate than a false positive in an IPS system is a false negative.  A false negative is when the system overlooks a malicious report. In short, the system fails to report it, thus bringing more damage to the system.

There are multiple types of false negatives ranging from no notification to the function being completely silent about the malfunction. To solve this, anti-virus and anti-malware tests are implemented. These work by sending traffic deliberately through the software and hardware of the system to see determine the catch rates Thus, this gives a way to compare differences between one IPS function and the other.

The resemblance between the two systems

The niche of work of both IDS and IPS is similar. They function by comparing the existing genuine database to the one incoming in the servers. If the information is identical, then it passes without any intrusion from either one. However, if the data differs, it is perceived as a threat and thus acted against it. Since the volume of data is being amplified by each passing day, regular updates are essential for these systems to work properly. In addition to regular cyber updates, manual adjustments are also mandatory to render better protection to the system.

Contrasting features in IDS and IPS

Despite both systems being united by working against cyber alerts, they differ in their mode of work. The chief difference is that IDS is used solely to identify threats and malicious traffic in the system without acting upon it whereas Intrusion Prevention Systems blocks these cyber threats. The detection entails the receiving of alarms or alerts in the system when it identifies a problem. In contrast to this, prevention or IPS can inhibit the problem before it gets into the system.

Moreover, Intrusion Detection Systems were available before Intrusion Prevention Systems. This explains its outdated use in comparison to the IPS that is widely used nowadays.

IDS and IPS is crucial for your system

Intrusions in the system result in loss or abnormal alterations in the data which is detrimental to the systems. This not only disturbs the working of the systems but the budgets as well. The breach, if not treated at the exact time, slowly annihilates the system. Reaction to the system breach ranges over a variety of tactics in these systems including automation, compliance, and policy enforcement.

Automation, as elucidated by the name, does not demand any handwork. Whereas compliance is to confirm a checklist and policy enforcement works with the specific strategies a company wants to enforce via the detecting systems.

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