Feeds

OK, Mr. President, those cybersecurity guidelines you ordered are HERE

New Framework aims to lock down US critical infrastructure

Seven Steps to Software Security

The Obama administration has taken wraps off the Cybersecurity Framework, a new set of voluntary guidelines outlining ways that organizations involved in energy, water, transportation, and other critical infrastructure can shore up their digital security.

The guide is the result of a yearlong collaboration between the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and private sector companies, stemming from President Obama's executive order on "Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity" from last February.

In that order, the President said the threat from cyber attacks was growing and that the government needed to work together with industry to protect assets that would have "a debilitating impact" on national security, the economy, or public health and safety if they were disabled or destroyed.

To that end, NIST has produced a rather dry but detailed 41-page document outlining the collective wisdom of the nation's infrastructure security brains.

"For organizations that don't know where to start, the Framework provides a road map," the White House said in a press release. "For organizations with more advanced cybersecurity, the Framework offers a way to better communicate with their CEOs and with suppliers about management of cyber risks."

The Framework itself comprises three components: the Core, Implementation Tiers, and Profiles.

The Framework Core describes high-level activities that organizations can engage in to help identify cybersecurity risks, protect against attacks, detect incidents when they do occur, respond to them, and recover from any damage that may result.

Framework Implementation Tiers then describe specific security processes in levels of increasing rigor, ranging from "partial" (Tier 1) to "adaptive" (Tier 4). Organizations select which tiers are most appropriate for them based on their unique business objectives, legal and regulatory requirements, and other constraints.

Finally, Framework Profiles can be used to describe the current state of an organization's security practices, and an organization's current profile can be compared to a target profile to measure how far along it is in its security program objectives.

NIST cautions that the Framework doesn't offer a checklist of activities or a one-size-fits-all solution for cybersecurity. Rather, organizations can use it as a tool for evaluating their existing procedures and practices and toughening them up as need be.

Also, the guidelines are labeled "version 1.0" and the White House says they are hardly set in stone.

"As the Framework is put into practice, lessons learned will be integrated into future versions," the document's introduction explains. "This will ensure it is meeting the needs of critical infrastructure owners and operators in a dynamic and challenging environment of new threats, risks, and solutions."

The full Framework and its appendices are available in PDF, Epub, and Excel formats from the NIST website, here.

In addition, the Department of Homeland Security has launched an effort called the Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community C3 Voluntary Program – yes, that's actually pronounced "C cubed" – aimed at increasing awareness of the Framework and hooking up critical infrastructure organizations with the resources they need to implement it. More information on that program can be had here. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.