Browse Definitions:
Definition

false positive

A false positive is an error in some evaluation process in which a condition tested for is mistakenly found to have been detected. 

In spam filters, for example, a false positive is a legitimate message mistakenly marked as UBE --unsolicited bulk email, as junk email is more formally known. Messages that are determined to be spam -- whether correctly or incorrectly -- may be rejected by a server or client-side spam filter and returned to the sender as bounce e-mail.

One problem with many spam filtering tools is that if they are configured stringently enough to be effective, there is a fairly high chance of getting false positives. The risk of accidentally blocking an important message has been enough to deter many companies from implementing any anti-spam measures at all.

False positives are also common in security systems. A host intrusion prevention system (HIPS), for example, looks for anomalies, such as deviations in bandwidthprotocols and ports. When activity varies outside of an acceptable range – for example, a remote application attempting to open a normally closed port -- an intrusion may be in progress. However, an anomaly, such as a sudden spike in bandwidth use, does not guarantee an actual attack, so this approach amounts to an educated guess and the chance for false positives can be high.

False positives contrast with false negatives, which are results indicating mistakenly that some condition tested for is absent. 

This was last updated in August 2014

Continue Reading About false positive

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Thanks for sharing these very useful tips for saving too much time which will prove
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

  • conduct risk

    Conduct risk is the prospect of financial loss to an organization that is caused by the actions of an organization's ...

SearchSecurity

  • insider threat

    An insider threat is a malicious hacker (also called a cracker or a black hat) who is an employee or officer of a business, ...

  • virus (computer virus)

    A computer virus is malicious code that replicates by copying itself to another program, computer boot sector or document.

  • two-factor authentication (2FA)

    Two-factor authentication (2FA), often referred to as two-step verification, is a security process in which the user provides two...

SearchHealthIT

  • HIPAA Privacy Rule

    The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, commonly known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, establishes ...

  • HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA)

    Under the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, a HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA) is a ...

  • telemedicine

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • disaster recovery plan (DRP)

    A company's disaster recovery policy is enhanced with a documented DR plan that formulates strategies, and outlines preparation ...

  • fault-tolerant

    Systems with integrated fault tolerance are designed to withstand multiple hardware failures to ensure continuous availability.

  • disaster recovery (DR)

    Disaster recovery strategies are critical, as many businesses fail following an unforeseen event. DR may require an internal or ...

SearchStorage

  • Secure Digital card (SD card)

    SD cards use flash memory to provide nonvolatile storage. They are more rugged than traditional storage media and are used in ...

  • data storage

    In a computer, storage is the place where data is held in an electromagnetic or optical form for access by a computer processor.

  • flash storage

    Flash-based storage, based on flash memory, is used for data repositories, storage systems and consumer devices, such as USB ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • flash file system

    Flash file systems are designed specifically for memory devices. A well-designed flash device and flash file system ensure ...

  • IOPS (input/output operations per second)

    IOPS measures the maximum number of reads and writes to non-contiguous storage. It is not an actual benchmark since vendor ...

  • eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard)

    An embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) is a small storage device made up of NAND flash memory and a simple storage controller.

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close