IDS vs IPS (Tips on NIDS, HIDS, NIPS and HIPS)

Organizations spend a lot of money and resources to protect themselves from cyber attacks and threats. One of the ways they do this, is by using specialist security tools like IDS and IPS, that can actively check for potential threats. I always advise my clients to use these specialist security tools.

So, what’s the difference between and IDS and IPS? The Intrusion Detection System (IDS) can detect malicious activities within organizations and alert security teams. Whilst the Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) can also detect malicious activities but can also block the threat in real-time as well as alert security teams.

The IPS is generally a smart firewall with advanced capacities to check the traffic coming from the internet and going out to the internet for malicious patterns using known threat signatures. If the network traffic packets contain the malicious signatures, the IPS determines this as malicious and can block these network packets from entering the organization or alert security teams.

The IDS whilst not necessarily having firewall features, can also detect malicious behavior and alert security teams, but an IDS doesn’t necessarily have the capability to block threats in real-time and requires security personnel to check out the alerts generated by the IDS.

Both IDS and IPS are security tools I care about a lot, because they protect organizations from dangerous attacks by blocking them or alerting on them. Any design I see for security, I will always check to see if IPS and IDS are included before deciding on whether the design is fit for purpose in that it can protect against cyber attacks.

What Is an Intrusion Detection System? (IDS)

With the increased demand for computers and automated systems, the need for data privacy is on the rise. Institutions have invested heavily in keeping user information secure, with most gradually deploying malicious activity detection systems like the IDS.

So, what is an Intrusion Detection System? An Intrusion Detection System is a structure that helps in spotting malicious activities to alert the relevant bodies to act accordingly. As soon as it notices unauthorized access or suspicious traffic, it sends out an alert but doesn’t necessarily take any action to solve the issue. It is the incident responder or security specialists who step in to help counterattack. You can use an IDS in various environments, and like other security measures, it functions as a host or network-based solution.

Every organization wants to maintain trust and integrity with its clients. Therefore, they set up robust automated intrusion detection systems like the IDS. Read on to understand how an Intrusion Detection System works, what is a Network-based Intrusion Detection System (NIDS), and what is a Host-based Intrusion Detection System (HIDS).

How Does an Intrusion Detection System Work?

Technology has expanded the market, and people working in the key sectors make a fortune out of it. All this is achievable through data confidentiality and integrity. Since the companies don’t want to risk their businesses, they employ breach detection software like the IDS.

The Intrusion Detection System (IDS) checks data traffic in a network to determine suspicious activities or threats. In turn, it sends an alert to notify you that the system is under attack to help the concerned structures manage the situation. The analysts at the data security department will then obtain details such as the source address, the intended victim, and the nature of the attack.

The system uses signature, anomaly, and hybrid detection methods to identify unauthorized access. In most cases, it picks up and scrutinizes the information it has obtained, then reports and stores it in the security information system.

In signature detection, the system uses known fingerprints of potential threats. As soon as it identifies it as a positive threat, the structure generates a signature and stores it in memory for future use. Doing this helps the IDS to improve its threat-detection rate and reduce or eliminate the false positives.

The only downside to this method is that it finds it hard to detect first-time infiltrations. The other strategy is anomaly detection, which creates a model of the expected. Such a structure serves as a comparison tool such that any deviation becomes a threat.

Unlike signature detection, this method identifies novel threats; hence, accurately points out the false alerts and negatives. The last and conclusive method is the hybrid, which combines the signature and the anomaly-based systems. It maximizes their strengths and minimizes their weaknesses; the result is more attack detection and a reduced error rate. Some entities prefer using the hybrid method instead of either of the isolated systems.

Before you settle on an IDS, you need to understand that it only detects and alerts you about the threats. It doesn’t provide solid protection like the IPS (intrusion prevention system), which is why most institutions go for an IDS/ IPS integrated method. Also, note that the system has its challenges.

For one, it can generate false positives, which often put analysts on their toes to update the system regularly. It also faces staffing challenges where it doesn’t fit all configurations; it needs tech-savvy analysts to configure it for use in the intended site.

What Is a Network-Based Intrusion Detection System (NIDS)?

Your devices and networking systems need heavy security due to increased unauthorized entries and malware infiltration. A strategically placed NIDS will enhance traffic scrutiny from all input and output of all devices in the network.

Network Intrusion Detection System is a program or system that inspects and detects malicious activities on a particular network system. This software filters unusual behaviors on local outgoing and incoming networks and alerts you to act accordingly. NIDS can identify known and unknown anomalies in your traffic, making it difficult for infiltrators to attack your sensitive data.

They are well fortified against hijackers since they are undetectable and easy to install even with a running system. Additionally, in conjunction with other security devices such as firewalls, NIDS can still effectively guard your data.

A more traditional program will spot malicious activity and run it against a collection of known threats. The unfamiliar attacks that it had not detected before may go unnoticed, which puts your vital network traffic at risk. With the advancements in technology, the current NIDS can detect new intrusions stored in its system. Therefore, it can compare from its library of known threats and use artificial intelligence to notice the abnormal packet patterns.

Once it isolates such activities, it sends an alarm to the security operators, who will then take the necessary action. Moreover, the software uses specific patterns and certain malware sequences called the signature-based IDS, while those that can sniff new attacks are anomaly-based intrusion detection systems. Although it proves effective, one downside is that it can accidentally classify a previously harmless task as a hacker threat.

What Is a Host-Based Intrusion Detection System (HIDS)?

Intrusion detection systems fit in the intended environments. As in other methods used in cybersecurity, IDS can be network or host-based. One way is attached to the network while the other is more specific.

Unlike the NIDS, the host-based IDS searches for intrusion on a host instead of the network. It attaches to a traffic endpoint to detect threats. In this way, it can monitor any incoming and outgoing traffic to determine any anomalies.

This method focuses on one host machine, meaning that while it doesn’t avail a lot of data for future use like the Network-based method, it goes deeper to provide a lot of information about the host’s affairs. Being more specific makes it efficient in protecting a particular traffic path.

HIDS records the expected traffic and alerts the relevant authorities in case of any abnormal activity. The advantage of this method is that it narrows down to one channel, which increases its capabilities. Therefore, it can detect an attack that will potentially affect other systems too. On the contrary, HIDS is vulnerable to the infiltration meant for the host, and it can occupy a lot of space which strains the host’s data.

What Is an Intrusion Prevention System? (IPS)

Malicious users target software vulnerabilities to gain control over a system for personal agendas. As soon as they know where the weakness lies, they can attack, and only a strong security system can detect such entries and block unauthorized access.

So, what is an intrusion prevention system? The Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is a special technology that prevents security threats in real-time through the detection of malicious activities and blocking the exploitation of software vulnerabilities.

The technology limits unauthorized entry and locks out attackers from accessing applications or hardware. It responds by alerting the relevant authorities, stopping the source’s traffic, and restarting the affected applications.

Attackers obtain a lot from unsecured systems. The best way to block them and keep sensitive data safe is by setting up strong security systems to keep them at bay. Read through to understand what is the Detection Method of Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), what is Network-Based Intrusion Prevention System (NIPS), and what is Host-Based Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS).

What Is The Detection Method of Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)?

Companies and organizations need a high level of security for the safe conveying and storing of sensitive information. Only an invasion prevention system will improve operations and safeguard data integrity. You need an automated system like IPS to do the job for you at a lower cost and with high performance.

The Detection Method of Intrusion Prevention System uses three detection methods: signature-based, statistical anomaly, and protocol state analysis detection. The signature-based method records patterns or signatures of the intrusion code and will use this information to compare future attacks. Secondly, the statistical anomaly detection obtains information from the current network traffic then compares it with the expected patterns to detect any red flags. The last and least used detection method, the protocol state, contrasts the observed events with the predetermined activities considered normal to fish out protocol deviations.

Most IPS use several techniques to detect a threat then respond by blocking it. They construct a firewall to fortify against previously unknown vulnerabilities. They can also change the attack’s intention by substituting the otherwise malicious intention for warnings or other counterattack measures.

Another method involves alerting the concerned administrators about the security infiltration. The system can also drop the malicious packets, block the traffic, or reset the connection. All these methods come in handy to protect applications and stop unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data or obtaining permissions.

Robust automated security systems like the IPS come in handy to protect data integrity and are a valuable investment to any organization. There are several products in the IPS market, making it difficult to settle on the best system. First, it is essential to set aside a budget and lay down your expectations.

Next, research the available systems to help you settle on the best option for you. Note that the best structure will not only detect malicious activities, but it will also influence resources and technologies to protect data, conduct incident response, and other critical activities.

What Is a Network-Based Intrusion Prevention System (NIPS)?

There are four types of intrusion prevention systems. We have network-based, host-based, wireless intrusion, and network behavior analysis. Therefore, what is a Network-Based Intrusion Prevention System, and does it work as a cybersecurity measure?

NIPS monitors the network and protects its privacy, integrity, and availability. Majorly, it secures the network from malicious infiltration, service denial, and other serious threats. It analyzes protocols to identify unfamiliar activities by setting up a physical barrier to enhance the network’s intelligence and ability to determine the traffic’s intention. Therefore, NIPS acts as a guard wall to protect the network from viruses, Trojans, and other malicious attacks.

NIPS actively distorts network flow traffic from inline and active responses. Therefore, it stays in line with the network when monitoring traffic and takes the necessary action according to the rules. On the other hand, NIDS (Network Intrusion Detection System) is solely based on identifying suspicious activity. It checks the firewall’s interface while in read-only then notifies the management through the read/write interface.

NIPS manufacturers use high-speed application-specific systems and fast network processors. Therefore, it executes thousands of commands instead of executing each instruction after the other like a microprocessor.

The NIDS functions as a signature or anomaly-based signature to differentiate the safe traffic from malicious activities. You need to obtain the system from trusted vendors because it is prone to tuning issues, overload by high-speed networks, and lagging signature development and encryption.

What Is Host Intrusion Prevention System?

The internet is flooded with hackers and malicious individuals and having an advanced security policy will ensure that your data and networking activities stay safe and uninterrupted. HIPS works to counterattack any malware that other defensive structures such as firewalls and antivirus may fail to stop; however, does it have other functions and how does it work?

HIPS (Host Intrusion Prevention System) is a proactive security detail that prevents malicious activities on the host’s software and network systems. It is a structure that you install to secure an individual host. It uses a more advanced approach in obstructing any likely breach into your computer system.

It scans network traffic and data, stops, and alerts you about an invasion if it comes across unusual behavior. Chiefly, the HIPS works by checking abnormal changes such that your programs can take the necessary predetermined actions or wait for your command.

Not only does this system work on computers, but you can also install it to guard your workstations and servers. The software monitors actions like the execution processes, kernel, machine memory, files, networks, and buffer states. Its predecessor, HIDS (Host Intrusion Detection System), is more traditional regarding malicious activities detection.

It identifies changes in files and processes but doesn’t take the necessary action, unlike the HIPS that can stop an activity once it detects abnormal behavior. HIPS also acts on a broader spectrum since it doesn’t prevent malware alone and detects system commands that it doesn’t understand.

You can purchase the system from the many buyers currently in the market, but you will notice that different systems won’t operate the same way. Some will intercept tasks as you perform them, while others pre-execute an action before you run it. All the same, the result is to protect your system from cybercrimes. Unfortunately, wrong user decisions while using HIPS can still make your computer vulnerable to viruses and malware.


Any institution dealing with bulky and sensitive data needs a backup security system. To stay protected, you need to employ an automated system like IPS, which saves money and works efficiently. Contrary to the predecessor, the IDS (Intrusion Detection System), which identifies and reports the threats based on traffic scans, the IPS is more actively involved.

The IPS lines up with the traffic, analyzes it, selects the threats, and acts accordingly. It is crucial to obtain the system from reliable sources to ensure that it doesn’t have underlying issues to hinder its functionality.

The Intrusion detection system’s primary goal is to identify security breaches. It may not provide amicable solutions, but it effectively alerts you to help take the necessary precautions. It employs signature, anomaly detection, or both methods to lock out unauthorized access.

The system can also assist the network or attach to a particular host. Despite the shortcomings, such as false positives and staffing, the solution still works effectively to identify malicious activities.

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