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RSA Offers Experimental Attack Intelligence-Sharing Framework

Cloud-based approach based on NetWitness Live and Archer eGRC Suite
The call for a more uniform and simple way for organizations to swap intelligence about their firsthand experiences with threats and attacks got a boost last week when RSA released an experimental cloud-based framework and proof-of-concept for information-sharing among organizations.

The new framework is based in part on RSA's NetWitness Live cloud offering and RSA Archer eGRC Suite. The goal is to provide organizations with a standard way to tap outside expertise and for sharing and comparing threat and incident specifics. RSA at the RSA Conference 2012 in San Francisco last week demonstrated the new framework for detecting and remediating threats.

Major global businesses have called for better intelligence- and information-sharing among themselves and other organizations hit by cyberattacks in order to better fend off the bad guys and protect themselves from breaches, but a universal model for doing thus far has been unavailable. RSA recently helped facilitate a report under the auspices of the Security for Business Innovation Council (SBIC), which included input from security executives at ABN Amro, ADP, BP, Coca-Cola, eBay, Genzyme, HSBC Holdings, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Nokia, Northrop Grumman, SAP, T-Mobile, and RSA parent company EMC.

Eddie Schwartz, chief security officer at RSA, says RSA's proposed and open intelligence-sharing framework would help reduce the time a victim organization is exposed to a targeted or other attack. "A lot of these attacks go in waves. This would be a way to reduce exposure time" for those who would be hit in the first wave, for example, he says.

And the ability to share details of the attack, such as IP addresses or other source information, would help potential other victims who might be in the bull's eye for subsequent attacks in the next wave. "If it was past the first wave, it could be about stopping the attack," Schwartz says. "It's an active defense. If you can take the first wave of information in real time and inform an active defense for it ... anyone trailing that wave can pick that up and stop it."

There are emerging standards for encoding threat information -- Incident Object Description Exchange Format (IODEF) -- and for transmitting threat data securely -- Real-Time Internetwork Defense (RID) -- as well as forensic indicators, but the missing link has been a standard, machine-readable format for sharing these items, according to RSA. Most organizations share offline, and different industries have different ways of sharing this information, according to RSA.

RSA's white paper on its proposed open framework for intelligence-sharing is available here (PDF).

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