Computer Incident Response and Product Security

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-12-06
  • Publisher: Cisco Press
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Learn how to build a Security Incident Response team with guidance from a leading SIRT from Cisco Gain insight into the best practices of one of the foremost incident response teams Master your plan for building a SIRT (Security Incidence Response Team) with detailed guidelines and expert advice for incident handling and response Review legal issues from a variety of national perspectives, and consider practical aspects of coordination with other organizations Network Security Incident Responseprovides practical guidelines for building an SIRT team as well offering advice on responding to actual incidents. For many companies, incident response is new territory. Some companies do not have an incidence response team at all. Some would like to have one but need guidance to start and others would like to improve existing practices. Today, there are only a handful of organizations that do have mature and experienced teams. For that reason this book is structured to provide help in both creating and running an effective Security Incident Response Team. Organizations who are evaluating whether to invest in a SIRT or who are just getting started building one will find the information in this book to be invaluable in helping them understand the nature of the threats, justifying resources, and building effective IR (Incidence Response) teams. Established IR teams will also benefit from the best practices highlighted in building IR teams as well as information on the current state of incident response handling, incident coordination, and legal issues. Written by a leading SIRT (Security Incident Response Team) from Cisco, the expertise and guidance provided in this book will serve as the blueprint for successful incidence response planning for most any organization.

Author Biography

Damir Rajnovic finished his education in Croatia where, in 1993, he started his career in computer security. He started at the Croatian News Agency Hina, then moved on to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and finally to the Ministry of Science and Technology. During that time, Damir became involved with the Forum of Incident Response Teams (FIRST) and established the Croatian Academic and Research Network Computer Incident Response Team (CARNet CERT), which, until recently, was not only handling computer incidents for CARNet but was also acting as the Croatian national CERT. Damir then moved to the United Kingdom to work in EuroCERT which was a project that aimed to coordinate CERTs within the European region. After EuroCERT, Damir moved to the Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (Cisco PSIRT), where he is still working. Cisco PSIRT is the focal point for managing security vulnerabilities in all Cisco products.


Damir remains active in FIRST, where he created Vendor SIG, and currently serves as liaison officer to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Damir was an invited lecturer for the MSc Information Technology Security course at Westminster University, London. He was one of the core people who dreamed up and formed the Industry Consortium for the Advancement of Security on the Internet (ICASI).


His nonsecurity-related work includes working as a sound engineer on Radio 101 (http://www.radio101.hr) while living in Zagreb, Croatia. Damir lives with his family in Didcot, UK.


Table of Contents

Introduction xvii

Part I Computer Security Incidents

Chapter 1 Why Care About Incident Response? 1

Instead of an Introduction 1

Reasons to Care About Responding to Incidents 2

    Business Impacts 2

    Legal Reasons 3

    Being Part of a Critical Infrastructure 4

    Direct Costs 5

    Loss of Life 6

How Did We Get Here or “Why Me?” 7

    Corporate Espionage 7

    Unintended Consequences 8

    Government-Sponsored Cyber Attacks 8

    Terrorism and Activism 8

Summary 9

References 9

Chapter 2 Forming an IRT 13

Steps in Establishing an IRT 14

Define Constituency 14

    Overlapping Constituencies 15

    Asserting Your Authority Over the Constituency 16

Ensure Upper-Management Support 17

Secure Funding and Funding Models 18

    IRT as a Cost Center 19

        Cost of an Incident 19

        Selling the Service Internally 25

        Price List 25

        Clear Engagement Rules 26

        Authority Problems 26

        Placement of IRT Within the Organization 28

Central, Distributed, and Virtual Teams 29

    Virtual Versus Real Team 30

    Central Versus Distributed Team 31

Developing Policies and Procedures 32

    Incident Classification and Handling Policy 33

    Information Classification and Protection 35

    Information Dissemination 36

    Record Retention and Destruction 38

    Usage of Encryption 39

        Symmetric Versus Asymmetric Keys and Key Authenticity 40

        Creating Encryption Policy 42

        Digression on Trust 45

    Engaging and Cooperation with Other Teams 46

        What Information Will Be Shared 47

        Nondisclosure Agreement 47

        Competitive Relationship Between Organizations 47

Summary 47

References 48

Chapter 3 Operating an IRT 51

Team Size and Working Hours 51

    Digression on Date and Time 53

New Team Member Profile 53

    Strong Technical Skills 54

    Effective Interpersonal Skills 55

    Does Not Panic Easily 55

    Forms an Incident’s Image 55

Advertising the IRT’s Existence 56

Acknowledging Incoming Messages 56

    Giving Attention to the Report 57

    Incident Tracking Number 57

    Setting the Expectations 57

    Information About the IRT 58

    Looking Professional and Courteous 58

    Sample Acknowledgment 58

Cooperation with Internal Groups 59

    Physical Security 59

    Legal Department 59

    Press Relations 60

    Internal IT Security 61

    Executives 61

    Product Security Team 65

    Internal IT and NOC 65

Be Prepared! 65

    Know Current Attacks and Techniques 66

    Know the System IRT Is Responsible For 67

    Identify Critical Resources 69

    Formulate Response Strategy 69

    Create a List of Scenarios 70

Measure of Success 72

Summary 74

References 74

Chapter 4 Dealing with an Attack 75

Assigning an Incident Owner 76

Law Enforcement Involvement 77

    Legal Issues 78

Assessing the Incident’s Severity 78

Assessing the Scope 81

    Remote Diagnosis and Telephone Conversation 83

    Hint #1: Do Not Panic 83

    Hint #2: Take Notes 84

    Hint #3: Listen 84

    Hint #4: Ask Simple Questions 84

    Hint #5: Rephrase Your Questions 85

    Hint #6: Do Not Use Jargon 85

    Hint #7: Admit Things You Do Not Know 85

    Hint #8: Control the Conversation 86

Solving the Problem 86

    Determining the Reaction 86

    Containing the Problem 88

    Network Segmentation 88

    Resolving the Problem and Restoring the Services 89

    Monitoring for Recurrence 90

Involving Other Incident Response Teams 90

Involving Public Relations 90

Post-Mortem Analysis 91

    Incident Analysis 92

    IRT Analysis 94

Summary 95

References 95

Chapter 5 Incident Coordination 97

Multiple Sites Compromised from Your Site 97

How to Contact Somebody Far Away 98

    Contact a CERT Local at the Remote End 98

    Standard Security Email Addresses 99

    Standard Security Web Page 99

    whois and Domain Name 99

    Who Is Your ISP? 102

    Law Enforcement 102

Working with Different Teams 102

Keeping Track of Incident Information 103

Product Vulnerabilities 104

    Commercial Vendors 104

    Open Source Teams 105

    Coordination Centers 105

Exchanging Incident Information 106

Summary 107

References 107

Chapter 6 Getting to Know Your Peers: Teams and Organizations Around the World 109




BARF 112

InfraGard 112

ISAC 113

NSP-Security Forum 113

Other Forums and Organizations of Importance 114

Summary 114

References 115

Part II Product Security

Chapter 7 Product Security Vulnerabilities 117

Definition of Security Vulnerability 118

Severe and Minor Vulnerabilities 120

    Chaining Vulnerabilities 122

Fixing Theoretical Vulnerabilities, or Do We Need an Exploit? 124

Internally Versus Externally Found Vulnerabilities 125

Are Vendors Slow to Produce Remedies? 126

    Process of Vulnerability Fixing 127

    Vulnerability Fixing Timeline 128

Reasons For and Against Applying a Remedy 130

Question of Appliances 133

Summary 135

References 135

Chapter 8 Creating a Product Security Team 137

Why Must a Vendor Have a Product Security Team? 137

Placement of a PST 138

    PST in the Engineering and Development Department 138

    PST in the Test and Quality Assurance Group 139

    PST in the Technical Support Department 140

Product Security Team Roles and the Team Size 140

    PST Interaction with Internal Groups 141

        PST Interaction with Engineering and Development 141

        PST Interaction with Test Group 141

        PST Interaction with Technical Support 142

        PST Interaction with Sales 142

        PST Interaction with Executives 143

    Roles the PST Can Play and PST Involvement 143

    PST Team Size 144

Virtual Team or Not? 144

Summary 145

References 145

Chapter 9 Operating a Product Security Team 147

Working Hours 147

Supporting Technical Facilities 147

    Vulnerability Tracking System 148

        Interfacing with Internal Databases 149

    Laboratory Resources 150

        Geographic Location of the Laboratory 151

        Shared Laboratory Resources 151

        Virtual Hardware 152

Third-Party Components 152

    Product Component Tracking 152

    Tracking Internally Developed Code 155

    Relationship with Suppliers 155

Summary 156

References 156

Chapter 10 Actors in Vulnerability Handling 159

Researchers 159

Vendors 160

    Who Is a Vendor? 160

    Vendor Communities 162

        Vendor Special Interest Group (SIG) 162

        ICASI 162

        IT-ISAC 163

        VSIE 163

        Vendor Point of Contact—Japan 164

        SAFECode 164

        vendor-sec 164

Coordinators 164

    Vendors’ Incentive to Be Coordinated 165

    Coordinators’ Business Model 165

    Commercial Coordinators 166

    Government and Government Affiliated 166

    Open-Source Coordinators 167

    Other Coordinators 167

Users 167

    Home Users 167

    Business Users 168

    Equipment Usage 168

Interaction Among Actors 169

Summary 171

References 171

Chapter 11 Security Vulnerability Handling by Vendors 173

Known Unknowns 173

Steps in Handling Vulnerability 174

Discovery of the Vulnerability 174

Initial Triage 175

Reproduction 176

Detailed Evaluation 177

Remedy Production 177

    Remedy Availability 179

Remedy Distribution and Notification 180

Monitoring the Situation 181

Summary 181

References 181

Chapter 12 Security Vulnerability Notification 183

Types of Notification 183

When to Disclose Vulnerability 184

Amount of Information in the Notice 186

Disclosing Internally Found Vulnerabilities 187

Public Versus Selected Recipients 188

Vulnerability Predisclosure 190

Scheduled Versus Ad Hoc Notification Publication 193

Vulnerability Grouping 194

Notification Format 197

    Notification Medium 197

    Electronic Document Type 198

    Electronic Document Structure 198

    Usage of Language in Notifications 199

Push or Pull 200

Internal Notification Review 202

Notification Maintenance 203

Access to the Notifications 204

Summary 205

References 205

Chapter 13 Vulnerability Coordination 209

Why Cooperate and How to Deal with Competitors 209

Who Should Be a Coordinator? 211

How to Coordinate Vendors on a Global Scale 212

    Vendors Never Sleep 212

    Be Sensitive to Multicultural Environments 213

    Use Good Communication Skills 213

    No Surprises 214

Summary 214

References 214



9781587052644    TOC    11/9/2010


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