Cyber Resiliency Guidelines from NIST

Monday, May 7, 2018 @ 04:05 PM gHale

When it comes to security a manufacturing enterprise network, the word resiliency has been bandied about over the past year or so.

It only makes sense because the idea of intruders succeeding in getting past a secured perimeter means defenders need to be able to find the attack, ward it off, keep damage to a minimum and ensure the system stays up and running.

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That is resiliency in today’s manufacturing environment.

While that is incredibly difficult and complex, there is a new publication that just released that can help users get on top of the situation.

That is because modern computing and information technology systems are built upon a variety of hardware components, many of which rely on firmware and configuration data to drive their behavior.

Firmware provides low-level control for the device’s hardware. This software is written in the hardware’s nonvolatile memory and is thus saved when the hardware is turned off or loses its external power source. Almost all electronic devices contain some firmware, and this firmware is often permanently installed and cannot be changed. As a result, updating the firmware of a device may rarely or never be done during its lifetime.

That is where the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will help as it just released its “Special Publication 800-193, Platform Firmware Resiliency Guidelines,” a document that provides technical guidelines and recommendations supporting resiliency of the collection of hardware and firmware components of a computer system.

These guidelines describe security mechanisms for protecting the platform against unauthorized changes, detecting unauthorized changes that occur, and securing recovery from attacks.

This document is intended to guide implementers, including system manufacturers and component suppliers, on how to use these mechanisms to build a strong security foundation into platforms. The document may also be useful when developing enterprise-wide procurement strategies and deployment.

This document provides technical guidelines and recommendations supporting resiliency of platform firmware and data against potentially destructive attacks.

The platform is a collection of fundamental hardware and firmware components needed to boot and operate a system.

A successful attack on platform firmware could render a system inoperable, perhaps permanently, or requiring reprogramming by the original manufacturer, resulting in significant disruptions to users.

The technical guidelines in this document promote resiliency in the platform by describing security mechanisms for protecting the platform against unauthorized changes, detecting unauthorized changes that occur, and recovering from attacks rapidly and securely.

Implementers, including Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and component/device suppliers, can use these guidelines to build stronger security mechanisms into platforms. System administrators, security professionals, and users can use this document to guide procurement strategies and priorities for future systems.



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