An Autocorrelation Methodology for the Assessment of Security Assurance

An Autocorrelation Methodology for the Assessment of Security Assurance

Richard T. Gordon (Bridging The Gap, Inc., USA) and Allison S. Gehrke (University of Colorado, Denver, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-326-5.ch004
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Abstract

This chapter describes a methodology for assessing security infrastructure effectiveness utilizing formal mathematical models. The goal of this methodology is to determine the relatedness of effects on security operations from independent security events; determine the relatedness of effects on security operations from security event categories; identify opportunities for increased efficiency in the security infrastructure yielding time savings in the security operations; and identification of combinations of security events which compromise the security infrastructure. We focus on evaluating and describing a novel security assurance measure that governments and corporations can use to evaluate the strength and readiness of their security infrastructure. An additional use is as a before and after measure in a security services engagement to quantify infrastructure improvement that can serve as a basis for continuous security assurance.
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Introduction

This chapter presents a novel security assurance methodology organizations can use to quantify their global security posture across the enterprise. The information security industry is addressing many challenges; specifically, how to collect data, often from heterogeneous, non-automated and non-standard sources, and how to properly analyze and act on the data. Before the autocorrelation methodology is described, relevant terms are defined to facilitate discussion.

Security assurance has several variations and definitions in the literature but generally refers to the ability of an organization to protect information and system resources with respect to vulnerability, confidentiality, integrity, and authentication. Security assurance is one broad category of security intelligence that security practitioners and managers are keenly interested in measuring and quantifying. Vulnerability is a weakness in the security system that might be exploited to cause loss or harm and an attack is when a person or another system exploits vulnerability (Pfleeger & Pfleeger, 2006). This chapter presents an autocorrelation methodology to evaluate security assurance processes, technologies, applications, and practices through a novel security metric. Security metrics are tools that support decision making (NIST, SP800-100, 2006).

The ability to extract actionable information automatically through security metrics is crucial to the success of any security infrastructure. Information security metrics in general should be defined, developed, analyzed, maintained, and reported within a broader information security program with a stated mission and clear and concise goals. Within such a framework, security metrics can be linked back to specific program goals which can be leveraged for managerial decision making.

Data drives intelligence across all industries and data is generated from events. Events happen all around us as messages (or “events”) that flow across networks in support of commercial, government, and military operations. Event driven is defined as follows:

Event driven means simply that whatever tools and applications are used to automate business and enterprise management processes, those tools and applications rely on receiving events to monitor the progress of a process and issuing events to initiate its next stages. This is becoming universal for all business processing. (Luckham, 2002, pp. 29)

Processing security information is no exception as information security has become an essential business function (NIST, SP800-80, 2006). Within the context of security, the SANS Institute defines an event as “an observable occurrence in a system or network” (see glossary at: http://www.sans.org/resources/glossary.php). It follows that a security event is a single or collection of “observable occurrence(s) in a system or network” that violate the security policy of an organization. Two related concepts are event aggregation and security event management. Event aggregation is defined by Luckham (2002, pp. 17) as “recognizing or detecting a significant group of lower-level events from among all the enterprise event traffic, and creating a single event that summarizes in its data their significance”. Security event management software is “software that imports security event information from multiple data sources, normalizes the data, and correlates events among the data sources” (NIST, 2006, C-3).

For our purposes, we will define a security incident as a specific type of security event; one that has been identified and classified by the organization as of sufficient priority to require the response of security personnel and whose time to resolve will be measured and tracked. The terms security event and incident are often used interchangeably; the distinction becomes important in the Metrics Development and Implementation Approach section which describes how to develop and implement the metric used in the autocorrelation methodology within a security event management framework.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Foreword
Merrill Warkentin
Preface
Kenneth J. Knapp
Acknowledgment
Kenneth J. Knapp
Chapter 1
Jaziar Radianti, Jose J. Gonzalez
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Dynamic Modeling of the Cyber Security Threat Problem: The Black Market for Vulnerabilities
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Chapter 2
Somak Bhattacharya, Samresh Malhotra, S. K. Ghosh
As networks continue to grow in size and complexity, automatic assessment of the security vulnerability becomes increasingly important. The typical... Sample PDF
An Attack Graph Based Approach for Threat Identification of an Enterprise Network
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Chapter 3
Robert F. Mills, Gilbert L. Peterson, Michael R. Grimaila
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the insider threat and discuss methods for preventing, detecting, and responding to the threat. Trusted... Sample PDF
Insider Threat Prevention, Detection and Mitigation
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Chapter 4
Richard T. Gordon, Allison S. Gehrke
This chapter describes a methodology for assessing security infrastructure effectiveness utilizing formal mathematical models. The goal of this... Sample PDF
An Autocorrelation Methodology for the Assessment of Security Assurance
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Chapter 5
Ken Webb
This chapter results from a qualitative research study finding that a heightened risk for management has emerged from a new security environment... Sample PDF
Security Implications for Management from the Onset of Information Terrorism
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Chapter 6
Yves Barlette, Vladislav V. Fomin
This chapter introduces major information security management methods and standards, and particularly ISO/IEC 27001 and 27002 standards. A... Sample PDF
The Adoption of Information Security Management Standards: A Literature Review
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Chapter 7
Peter R. Marksteiner
Information overload is an increasingly familiar phenomenon, but evolving United States military doctrine provides a new analytical approach and a... Sample PDF
Data Smog, Techno Creep and the Hobbling of the Cognitive Dimension
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Chapter 8
John W. Bagby
The public expects that technologies used in electronic commerce and government will enhance security while preserving privacy. These expectations... Sample PDF
Balancing the Public Policy Drivers in the Tension between Privacy and Security
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Chapter 9
Indira R. Guzman, Kathryn Stam, Shaveta Hans, Carole Angolano
The goal of our study is to contribute to a better understanding of role conflict, skill expectations, and the value of information technology (IT)... Sample PDF
Human Factors in Security: The Role of Information Security Professionals within Organizations
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Chapter 10
Nikolaos Bekatoros HN, Jack L. Koons III, Mark E. Nissen
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Diagnosing Misfits, Inducing Requirements, and Delineating Transformations within Computer Network Operations Organizations
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Chapter 11
Rodger Jamieson, Stephen Smith, Greg Stephens, Donald Winchester
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An Approach to Managing Identity Fraud
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Chapter 12
Alanah Davis, Gert-Jan de Vreede, Leah R. Pietron
This chapter presents a repeatable collaboration process as an approach for developing a comprehensive Incident Response Plan for an organization or... Sample PDF
A Repeatable Collaboration Process for Incident Response Planning
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Chapter 13
Dean A. Jones, Linda K Nozick, Mark A. Turnquist, William J. Sawaya
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Chapter 14
Preeti Singh, Pranav Singh, Insu Park, JinKyu Lee
We live in a digital era where the global community relies on Information Systems to conduct all kinds of operations, including averting or... Sample PDF
Information Sharing: A Study of Information Attributes and their Relative Significance During Catastrophic Events
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Chapter 15
Gregory B. White, Mark L. Huson
The protection of cyberspace is essential to ensure that the critical infrastructures a nation relies on are not corrupted or disrupted. Government... Sample PDF
An Overview of the Community Cyber Security Maturity Model
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Chapter 16
Doug White, Alan Rea
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Server Hardening Model Development: A Methodology-Based Approach to Increased System Security
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Chapter 17
Jeff Teo
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Trusted Computing: Evolution and Direction
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Chapter 18
Miguel Jose Hernandez y Lopez, Carlos Francisco Lerma Resendez
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About the Contributors