Cyber Security Month: DHS Eval Tool

Thursday, September 29, 2011 @ 02:09 PM gHale


In honor of October being Cyber Security month, we will share again a new product called the Cyber Security Evaluation Tool (CSET) which can help organizations to properly secure their digital property.

Critical infrastructures depend on information technology systems and computer networks for essential operations and the reliability and resiliency of the systems.

With that in mind, the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division (NCSD), in collaboration with partners from across public, private, and international communities developed and coordinated security measures to protect against cyber threats.

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That is where CSET comes in. The tool will assists organizations in protecting their key cyber assets.

Developed under the direction of the NCSD by cyber security experts, and with assistance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the tool provides users with a systematic and repeatable approach for assessing the security posture of their cyber systems and networks. The tool includes high-level and detailed questions related to all industrial control and IT systems.

CSET is a desktop software tool that guides users through a step-by-step process to assess their control system and information technology network security practices against recognized industry standards.

The output from CSET is a prioritized list of recommendations for improving the cyber security posture of the organization’s enterprise and industrial control cyber systems. The tool derives the recommendations from a database of cyber security standards, guidelines, and practices. Each recommendation links to a set of actions that can enhance cyber security controls.

CSET incorporates a variety of available standards from organizations such as NIST, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), among others. When the user selects one or more of the standards, CSET will open a set of questions to answer. The answers to these questions will then go through the program and compare against a selected security assurance level. At that point a detailed report will show areas for potential improvement. CSET helps the user perform a self-assessment of the security posture of the control system environment.

Some of the benefits of the program:
• CSET contributes to an organization’s risk management and decision-making process
• Raises awareness and facilitates discussion on cyber security within the organization
• Highlights vulnerabilities in the organization’s systems and provides recommendations on ways to address the vulnerability
• Identifies areas of strength and best practices followed in the organization
• Provides a method to systematically compare and monitor improvement in the cyber systems
• Provides a common industry-wide tool for assessing cyber systems

Click here to download CSET. In addition, as an alternative to the downloadable version, a CSET DVD is available from the DHS, National Cyber Security Division. To request a copy, please send an email to: CSET@dhs.gov. Please insert “CSET” in the title block of the email and include your name, organization name, complete street address (no P.O. boxes), and phone number in your email request

In addition, as an alternative, the Control Systems Security Program (CSSP) also offers onsite training and guidance in using CSET during onsite assessments. These assessments are free. To assist an organization in planning and organizing for an assessment using the CSET, the following actions and items are recommended:
• Identify the assessment team members and schedule a date.
• Become familiar with information about the organization’s system and network by reviewing polices and procedures, network topology diagrams, inventory lists of critical assets and components, risk assessments, IT and ICS network policies/practices, and organizational roles and responsibilities.
• Select a meeting location to accommodate the assessment team during the question and answer portion of the assessment.
• Work with CSSP for onsite or subject matter support.

To request onsite assistance, send an email to cset@dhs.gov.



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