What are False Positives?

The term “false positive” has become so used up in the information security domain that we don’t really pause and think about what it means or how it’s used. Generally, it refers to mislabeled indicators of compromise or false positive security alerts.

False positives shows that there is a problem, when actually there is none. This results in wasted time and resources of security analysts, which they could otherwise use for the investigation of other harmful threats.

Receiving false positive alerts in your security platform may cause your team to panic. At a time where a single mistake can cost thousands of dollars, it’s important to be cautious in your very move. Security teams need to screen data meticulously to address real threats trying to penetrate your network. Implementing an EDR detection and response tool can help you control adversaries intelligently.

A false positive alert warns people of a positive threat in the system. However, when investigated, no evidence, context, or correlation could support that claim. Alerts for such items can also be referred to as trivial alerts.

Detection and Response

False Positives and False Negatives: Explained

False positives are incorrectly flagged security vulnerabilities. Using them as a basis for blocking (filtering out malicious activity) or detecting (forensic investigations) could put your operations in the wrong track. If you have threat intelligence reports containing incorrectly labeled indicators, it could misguide you when evaluating risks or threats and put your whole network in jeopardy.

You may also encounter false negatives or malicious incidents that are labeled as secure and clean. These could be harmful, especially if you overlook them.

Both false negatives and false positives can cause big problems if not resolved right away. They may result in loss of resources and financial cost, and a big blow on the reputation of the organization. Making future collaboration with operational teams will also be more difficult.

What you want to get are true positives, which are correctly identified threats, and true negatives, which are correctly rejected events.

Importance of Knowing False Positives and Negatives

Giving users a clearer definition of false positives and false negatives will allow them to put in place strategies that will protect their IT infrastructure. This includes the evaluation of security tools that they’re currently using.

Installing endpoint detection and response gives you a better visibility of your network, determines advanced threats, and reduces the risks of breach. It has the ability to sense odd movements on your files, filtering and monitoring them for signs of malicious behavior. It can trigger an alert if it hits any red flags and recommend actionable steps to further investigate it. However, if it is a false positive, the alert is closed, investigation notes are added, and users are notified.

False Positives Develop Your Cybersecurity Posture

The existence of both false positives and false negatives in the IT sphere requires organizations to improve their cybersecurity strategy. They need to put in place preventive and reactive elements to establish a robust defense against attackers. Proactively hunting for hidden/unknown attacks will also help immensely in your overall protection.

Here are five simple tips that can solidify your security approach:

  1. Imagine that you’ve been breached and launch proactive initiatives to find those breaches. By doing so, you seek to validate the effectiveness of your defensive/prevention tools while keeping in mind that none of them are completely effective.
  2. You can’t protect what you don’t know exists. Utilize asset discovery tools to discover the hosts, systems, servers, and applications in your network environment.
  3. Conduct regular compromise assessments (at least once a week) and inspect every asset on your network.
  4. Explain security policies and procedures clearly. Carry out training with your entire team so you know what to do in the event of a malicious incident.
  5. Since time is your most valuable asset, it is critical to implement technology to improve detection and response times. It assists your security team in preventing a data breach.
False Positives Final Thoughts

Understand that your current security strategy may lack the ability to detect critical threats in your network, especially in your endpoints. Take the first step toward eradicating false positive infections by installing an EDR tool.

If you do not have the right solutions to address advanced persistent threats, consider outsourcing your security services to an endpoint detection and response provider like Xcitium. They have the expertise necessary to alert you of immediate threats and eliminate them. Contact our team to know more about our security services.

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