Posted 01 October 2007 - 03:09 PM
Synonyms: False alarm
A false positive is another way of saying ‘mistake’. As applied to the field of anti-virus programs, a false positive occurs when the program mistakenly flags an innocent file as being infected. This may seem harmless enough, but false positives can be a real nuisance.
* You waste productivity due to user down-time.
* You may take e-mail offline, as a security precaution, thus causing a backlog and more lost productivity
* You waste even more time and resources in futile attempts to disinfect ‘infected’ files. And if you load a backup, to replace ‘infected files, the backup appears to be infected too.
In short, false positives can be costly nuisances.
The term is not confined just to the anti-virus world. It also applies, for example, to anti-spam protection, where it refers to the misidentification of a legitimate e-mail message as spam. This too could be very costly, since the undelivered e-mail may be a business critical message.
“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded and the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics...you are all stardust.”― Lawrence M. Krauss
A 1792 U.S. penny, designed in part by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, reads “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”