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Security teams face blizzard of false alerts

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff)

As security teams try to manage a vast enterprise real estate of websites and applications, they are drowning in false positive alerts. These unreliable vulnerability reports cost organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

This is according to a new report from application security company Invicti Security. Pulling six years worth of data from its security solutions, the company found that the average security team manages more than 500 websites and applications, each of which generates an average of 20 vulnerability reports a year. That brings the number of possible vulnerabilities that need validating to 10,000 per annum.

With many alerts being false positives, the image becomes clear. It takes a team an hour to manually investigate a vulnerability on average, which means they spend almost 10,000 hours a year analyzing unreliable reports. Translated into financial terms, enterprises lose as much as half a million dollars every year, Invicti says.

To make matters worse, as they spend time on manually verifying possible vulnerabilities, security teams are drawn away from actual problems. 

These findings are in line with a similar report, published by security company Deep Instinct. Polling 600  IT and cybersecurity professionals this June, the company found that IT teams usually spend a quarter of the working week (10 hours) addressing false positives.

False positives happen when cybersecurity tools spot potentially dangerous network or app behavior, which turns out to be benign. Lately, many IT teams have been adding multiple new tools to their arsenal, but this has contributed to serious alert fatigue, which is a risk in itself.

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience in writing various types of content, from blogs, whitepapers, and reviews to ebooks, and many more, across sites including Al Jazeera Balkans, TechRadar Pro, IT Pro Portal, and CryptoNews.