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Verizon Offers Up Its Data Breach Framework

Free Verizon Incident-Sharing (VerIS) provides a standard way to collect and anonymously share security incident data and analysis

SAN FRANCISCO -- RSA Conference 2010 -- Verizon Business here today released to the public its framework for gathering and analyzing forensics data from a data breach that is the basis for its comprehensive annual data breach reports. The hope is that the framework will facilitate more cooperation and data-sharing among breach victim organizations.

The so-called Verizon Incident-Sharing (VerIS) 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. The combination helps give the victim organization a picture of the cause and severity of a breach.

"When our investigators are conducting a forensics investigation, they use this tool to collect, aggregate, analyze, and report. It becomes our data breach investigation report," says Wade Baker, director of risk intelligence for Verizon Business. "This is a tool for describing security incidents in a repeatable [and consistent] way."

Aside from offering a common format for reporting and sharing that data, the hope is that such a framework will facilitate and help organizations share breach information so investigators can find common threads among attacks and attackers, for instance. "This helps us put this into a comparative framework," Baker says.

VerIS -- which is available today via a free download -- can be used to supplement an organization's existing methods for collecting attack data and analysis, or as a replacement. "The benefit is all of a sudden the data set about your organization can now be compared with data in the [Verizon] data breach investigations report," he says.

A way to connect the dots, or correlate any data among targeted attacks, would be especially useful, industry experts say. The attacks on Google, Adobe, Intel, and others demonstrated how many attacks can be interrelated and victims could benefit from collaboration and information-sharing.

"It would be great if response teams started using a standard base of metrics. That would really help us perform external analysis across a wider base of data points," says Rich Mogull, CEO of Securosis and an advisory board member for VerIS.

Verizon's Baker says half of all incidents his firm has investigated during the past couple of years have been related in some way. "This happens quite often, but it's not well-understood or researched," he says. "Something I would love to see is [determining] connections among attacks."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio


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