Fwd: cnn.com - Homeland Security seeks cyber counterattack system(Einstein 3.0)
darden at armc.org
Tue Oct 7 14:18:05 CDT 2008
J. Oquendo wrote:
> Too many companies and individuals rely far
> too heavily on a false and outdated concept of the definition of
> "minimum requirements" when it comes to security. They tend to
> think they need to implement the minimum requirements and all will
> be fine. This is evident in almost all security management material
> I read where the goal is to offer a "mininum" set of requirements
> to meet guidelines and regulatory controls.
> What about exceeding the minimum requirements for a change.
What about an entirely different concept? I see a lot of network
router/firewall admins make the mistake of closing certain known bad
ports off. This mostly happens in a University-type situation, where it
is necessary--or at least traditional--to have an open network. A
network able to handle myriad new and changing protocols and services.
This is the black-list approach. It is a fundamental approach to
security that ends up with "minimum requirements" either met or
exceeded, without any real effectiveness no matter what certain experts
The acknowledged better path is using a white-list instead. Turn
everything off by default. Turn off all ports on the router/firewall.
Turn the ones back on that can be trusted, with as much control as you
can throw in there--specifying endpoints and ports, using content
inspection and ensuring protocols using higher layer proxy-type
protocols. Modern firewalls can do all of this.
This would lead to "maximum possible" security, regulated only by
realities. Layer 9 and 10 being the biggies, although layer 1 and 2 are
also important (money and politics).
This would not work in an open environment with 30,000 new laptops
coming in at the start of every summer, each running a different brand
of Doom (pun intended). But if we are talking about a smaller number of
stable networks that are meant primarily to interface with one-another
and only network outside of themselves... (wait for it, not secondarily,
not tertially, not even quartnearilly but instead) perhaps as the least
important function, then we have something we can work with. These
networks would be of Working machines. Primary purpose: work.
Stability, functionality, security of data and communications....
Here you go, my incredibly naive take on it:
0. white list as the fundamental principle. maximum security.
1. you are starting with a mess. turn off all internetworking on a
network, until it is compliant with the below.
2. separate the networks into discrete logical units (via function
would be best, if realities such as location/bandwidth permit).
3. separate the workstations.
4. harden the workstations. turn off extra services. only install
certain programs. make an image. shoot that image down every now and
then to ensure compliance.
5. harden the networks. allow communication between networks only for
certain services. specify endpoints and ports, use content inspection
ensure protocol regulation. check logs for unregulated attempts to
communicate between networks.
6. make sure you have adequate pc/networking/security admins to do
this--and maintain it. Keeping it all up to date will be a big part of
making sure it stays functional.
7. probably this should be #1 instead of #7--start with clear
documentation for each of the above points, including assignation of
responsibilities with job titles.
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