What Does I.P.S. Stand For- All About Intrusion Prevention System

IPS, a technology called intrusion prevention system, also referred to as an intrusion detection and prevention system (IDPS), monitors a network for any malicious activity that tries to take advantage of a known vulnerability.

Detecting any suspicious activity and either allowing or preventing the threat (IDS or IPS) are the main duties of an intrusion prevention system. The attempt is noted and reported to the staff of the Security Operations Center (SOC) or network administrators.

What is An Intrusion Prevention System – IPS

An intrusion prevention system (A critical component of any enterprise security system, an intrusion prevention system (IPS), also known as an intrusion detection and prevention system (IDPS), is a network security technology that continuously scans network traffic for suspicious activity and takes preventative action when necessary. IPS solutions, which are largely automated, assist in filtering out this malicious activity before it reaches other security devices or controls, effectively reducing the manual effort of security teams and enabling other security products to operate more effectively.

Additionally, IPS solutions are very good at spotting and preventing vulnerability exploits. Once a vulnerability has been identified, threat actors frequently have a window of time to take advantage of it before a security patch is installed. Here, these kinds of attacks are swiftly stopped by an intrusion prevention system.

Midway through the 2000s, standalone IPS appliances were created and first made available. However, unified threat management (UTM) solutions for small and medium-sized businesses as well as next-generation firewalls at the enterprise level now include this functionality. With the advancement of cloud-based computing and network services, next-generation IPS solutions can now offer a sophisticated defense against the rising number of cybersecurity threats that affect both local and international organizations globally.

Why Should Intrusion Prevention Systems Be Used?

IPS technologies are able to recognize or stop network security attacks like brute force, DoS, and vulnerability exploits. A software system’s weakness is referred to as a vulnerability, and an attack that takes advantage of that vulnerability to take over a system is known as an exploit. Attackers frequently have a window of time after an exploit is disclosed before the security patch is implemented. These attacks can be swiftly stopped by using an intrusion prevention system.

Due to their ability to monitor packet flows, IPS technologies can also be used to enforce the use of secure protocols while prohibiting the use of insecure protocols, such as protocols utilizing outdated SSL or weak ciphers.

How Intrusion Prevention Works

The intrusion prevention system (IPS), in contrast to its predecessor the intrusion detection system (IDS), is installed inline, directly in the path of network traffic between the source and the destination. The IDS is a passive system that scans traffic and reports on threats. The solution typically operates directly behind the firewall, actively analyzing and automating all traffic flows that enter the network. These actions can include:

  • Sending an alarm to the administrator (as would be seen in an IDS)
  • Dropping the malicious packets
  • Blocking traffic from the source address
  • Resetting the connection
  • Configuring firewalls to prevent future attacks

The IPS’ job as an inline security element is to prevent network performance degradation. Additionally, it must be quick to react because exploits can occur in almost real-time and are accurate to detect threats and false positives (i.e., legitimate packets misread as threats). Finding exploits and securing the network from unauthorized access requires the use of a number of techniques in order to accomplish this successfully. These include:

Signature-based detection is based on a dictionary of uniquely identifiable patterns (or signatures) in the code of each exploit. The signature of each discovered exploit is noted and added to a dictionary of signatures that is constantly expanding. Signature detection for IPS breaks down into two types:

Exploit-facing signatures identify individual exploits by triggering on the unique patterns of a particular exploit attempt. By locating a match with an exploit-facing signature in the traffic stream, the IPS can locate specific exploits.

Vulnerability-facing signatures are broader signatures that target the underlying vulnerability in the system that is being targeted. Although there is a chance of false positives, these signatures enable networks to be protected from exploit variants that may not have been directly observed in the wild.

Anomaly-based detection takes samples of network traffic at random and compares them to a pre-calculated baseline performance level. When a sample of network traffic activity deviates from the expected range of performance, the IPS intervenes to deal with the issue.

Policy-based detection requires system administrators to configure security policies based on an organization’s security policies and network infrastructure. A trigger is triggered and an alert is sent to the admins if any activity takes place that violates a defined security policy.

Types of Intrusion Prevention Systems

There are various IPS solution types that can be used for various applications. These include:

  • Network intrusion prevention system (NIPS), which is installed only at strategic points to monitor all network traffic and proactively scan for threats.
  • Host intrusion prevention system (HIPS), which is installed on an endpoint and looks at inbound and outbound traffic from that machine only. A HIPS acts as the final line of defense against threats and is frequently used in conjunction with NIPS.
  • Network behavior analysis (NBA) analyzes network traffic to detect unusual traffic flows and spot new malware or zero-day vulnerabilities.
  • A wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS) simply scans a examines the Wi-Fi network for unauthorized access and takes any intruders off the network.

What’s the Difference Between IDS and IPS?

The technology was initially deployed in detect mode on specialized security appliances. The default action is to block malicious traffic as technology has advanced and moved to integrated Next Generation Firewall or UTM devices.

Depending on how confident you are in a particular IPS protection, you may choose to detect the traffic and allow it or block it. False positives are more likely to occur when there is lower confidence in an IPS defense. A false positive occurs when an activity is labeled as an attack by the IDS but is actually just acceptable behavior. Due to this, many IPS systems can also record packet sequences from an attack event. The effectiveness of the IPS protection can then be increased by analyzing these to determine whether a threat actually existed.

Deep Learning for Evasive Threat Detection

To protect against the increase of sophisticated and evasive threats, intrusion prevention systems should deploy inline deep learning, which significantly enhances detection and accurately identifies never-before-seen malicious traffic without relying on signatures. In a manner similar to how neural networks work in our brains, deep-learning models process millions of data points in milliseconds by going through multiple layers of analysis. These highly developed pattern recognition systems analyze network traffic activity with unmatched precision, detecting malicious traffic that has never been seen before in line with incredibly low false-positive rates.

An IPS solution can use this extra layer of intelligent defense to further safeguard sensitive data for businesses and thwart complex attacks that could bring about an organization’s collapse.