DeepSec 2013 Talk: The Economics Of False Positives

René Pfeiffer/ October 15, 2013/ Conference

Ever since networks got attacked the victims have thought of ways to detect and prevent attacks. Packet filters were the first idea. Closing a port meant to worry less about applications listening on them. So the trouble of protecting moved to the services that were still exposed. Filtering got more complex, protocols were inspected, signatures were introduced, intrusion detection systems were born. Great – but the attacks didn’t disappear. Instead you got alerts, a lot of them. Some were caused by real attacks, some were false alerts. Enter false positives. Setting off false alarms is a tried and true military tactic. After a couple of false alarms the sentries will probably be less alert. Translated to information security this means that alerts (and log files) will be ignored after a couple of false alerts.

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