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Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)

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  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 31 Aug, 2021
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Intrusion Prevention System is also known as Intrusion Detection and Prevention System. It is a network security application that monitors network or system activities for malicious activity. Major functions of intrusion prevention systems are to identify malicious activity, collect information about this activity, report it and attempt to block or stop it. 

Intrusion prevention systems are contemplated as augmentation of Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) because both IPS and IDS operate network traffic and system activities for malicious activity. 

IPS typically record information related to observed events, notify security administrators of important observed events and produce reports. Many IPS can also respond to a detected threat by attempting to prevent it from succeeding. They use various response techniques, which involve the IPS stopping the attack itself, changing the security environment or changing the attack’s content. 

Classification of Intrusion Prevention System (IPS): 
Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is classified into 4 types: 

  1. Network-based intrusion prevention system (NIPS): 
    It monitors the entire network for suspicious traffic by analyzing protocol activity. 
  2. Wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS): 
    It monitors a wireless network for suspicious traffic by analyzing wireless networking protocols. 
  3. Network behavior analysis (NBA): 
    It examines network traffic to identify threats that generate unusual traffic flows, such as distributed denial of service attacks, specific forms of malware and policy violations. 
  4. Host-based intrusion prevention system (HIPS): 
    It is an inbuilt software package which operates a single host for doubtful activity by scanning events that occur within that host. 

Comparison of Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) Technologies:
The Table below indicates various kinds of IPS Technologies:

IPS Technology Type            Types of Malicious Activity Detected  Scope per Sensor                             Strengths
Network-BasedNetwork, transport, and application TCP/IP layer activity

Multiple network subnets 

and groups of hosts

Only IDPS which can  analyze the widest range of application protocols; 

Wireless protocol activity; unauthorized wireless 

local area networks (WLAN) in use

Multiple WLANs and 

groups of wireless clients

Only IDPS able to predict wireless protocol activity

Network, transport, and application TCP/IP layer activity 

that causes anomalous network flows

Multiple network subnets 

and groups of hosts

Typically more effective than the others at 

identifying reconnaissance scanning and

 DoS attacks, and at reconstructing major

 malware infections


Host application and operating system (OS) activity; network, transport, 

and application TCP/IP layer activity

Individual host

Can analyze activity that

was transferred in end-to-end 

encrypted communications

Detection Method of Intrusion Prevention System (IPS):  

  1. Signature-based detection: 
    Signature-based IDS operates packets in the network and compares with pre-built and preordained attack patterns known as signatures. 
  2. Statistical anomaly-based detection: 
    Anomaly based IDS monitors network traffic and compares it against an established baseline. The baseline will identify what is normal for that network and what protocols are used. However, It may raise a false alarm if the baselines are not intelligently configured. 
  3. Stateful protocol analysis detection: 
    This IDS method recognizes divergence of protocols stated by comparing observed events with pre-built profiles of generally accepted definitions of not harmful activity. 

Comparison of IPS with IDS: 
The main difference between Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) with Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) are: 

  1. Intrusion prevention systems are placed in-line and are able to actively prevent or block intrusions that are detected. 
  2. IPS can take such actions as sending an alarm, dropping detected malicious packets, resetting a connection or blocking traffic from the offending IP address. 
  3. IPS also can correct cyclic redundancy check (CRC) errors, defragment packet streams, mitigate TCP sequencing issues and clean up unwanted transport and network layer options. 
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