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Verizon Launches Site For Reporting Security Incidents

New VERIS website lets organizations anonymously share information on their breaches, get trend feedback
Verizon Business has launched a free website for organizations to anonymously share details about their security breaches in an effort to get a broader perspective of attack trends.

The new Verizon Incident-Sharing (VERIS) site is a follow-on to Verizon's release earlier this year of a free copy of the framework it uses to create its comprehensive annual data breach reports. The framework covers threat, asset, impact, and control factors, and provides standard templates with metrics and options in demographics, incident description, discovery, and mitigation and impact descriptions.

Verizon is now offering a central site for reporting incidents that gives victim organizations a picture of the cause and severity of a breach, as well as a way to measure their incidents against others that have been reported on the site.

"We had a lot of questions about how do I use this framework, [saying] it's a nice dictionary-type thing," says Wade Baker, director of risk intelligence for Verizon Business. "So we've been working the entire time on an app that goes along with the VERIS framework."

VERIS was used by both Verizon and the U.S. Secret Service in the July Verizon Business Data Breach Investigation Report, he says. "The data can be collected and shared by private and secret organizations. The proof point was us and the Secret Service [using it]."

The online application is easy to use, he says, prompting the user step-by-step in his or her description of a security incident. "The report you get back describes what you just submitted and compares it to a broader data set [from others]," Baker says. "It shows you how rare or common those [incident] characteristics are."

Six years' worth of previously gathered data by Verizon for its reports is already on the site, and Baker says the more data that's added, the more meaningful the reports will be for the user. "If you are falling prey to incidents like others, you are likely making the same mistakes. If yours is rare, at least you'll know it's a rare thing," he says.

There has been no common way for victim firms to securely and confidentially share data about attacks they suffer, nor has there been much incentive to do so. Security experts and forensics investigators say the best way to help defend against targeted attacks, for example, and to help unmask who's behind them is to gather and correlate attack information from various victims.

The VERIS online application -- which is a joint effort of Verizon Business' RISK team and ICSA Labs -- includes four sections: demographics, incident classification, discovery and mitigation, and impact classification.

Baker says it lets participants generate their own mini-DBIRs.

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