What is the difference between a false positive and a false negative in IDS?

A false positive is an error in binary classification in which a test result incorrectly indicates the presence of a condition such as a disease when the disease is not present, while a false negative is the opposite error where the test result incorrectly fails to indicate the presence of a condition when it is.

  • A false positive is considered to be a false alarm and a false negative is considered to be the most complicated state.
  • A false positive occurs when an IDS fires an alarm for legitimate network activity.
  • A false negative occurs when IDS fails to identify malicious network traffic.

Compared to both, a false positive is more acceptable than a false negative as they lead to intrusions without getting noticed.

A false positive can lead to unnecessary treatment and a false negative can lead to a false diagnostic, which is very serious since a disease has been ignored…
False Positives occur when a scanner, Web Application Firewall (WAF), or Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) flags a security vulnerability that you do not have. A false negative is the opposite of a false positive, telling you that you don’t have a vulnerability when, in fact, you do.

A true positive is a successful identification of an attack. A true negative state is similar. This is when the IDS identifies an activity as acceptable behavior and the activity is actually acceptable.
A false positive state is when the IDS identifies an activity as an attack but the activity is acceptable behavior.