Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

5/10/2011
11:44 AM
Commentary
Commentary
Commentary
50%
50%

A National Monitoring Infrastructure

It's theoretically possible, but who could orchestrate such a huge collaborative endeavor, and would it be possible to bring both private and public data under government oversight?

I recently had the opportunity to read Edward G. Amoroso’s book, entitled ""Cyber Attacks: Protecting National Infrastructure"," about the concept of a national-level infrastructure for the collection, correlation, monitoring (which he calls awareness) of, and response to cybersecurity incidents. As I read the four chapters, I found myself doing a little correlation of my own and drew several parallels to the Enterprise Security Information Management (ESIM) sector.

What Amoroso is describing is essentially a "master ESIM infrastructure" -- taking feeds from both public- and private-sector entities with the goal of centralizing data from the citizenry, business community, and government for the purpose of large-scale trending and worm detection. The idea sounds like a good one, but I have serious doubts about the ability to manage an infrastructure of such monstrous scale.

Although an effort of this design would be useful, it is very unlikely that a nation’s citizenry would trust the government enough to allow for the collection of data from its personally owned technology products. Enterprise customers have their own problems to worry about at a macro level without even considering participating at a super-macro-level for a national monitoring infrastructure. Compliance mandates, impending audits, and organizational security concerns will almost certainly trump national defense -- especially since many organizations consider the defense of the nation to be the problem of the elected government.

If the national-level collection infrastructure were limited to a cybersecurity mandate, however, military branches, in addition to government and intelligence agencies, could wield a national ESIM to better defend their interests. Once implemented, this national ESIM could expand to encompass public utilities and the military industrial base of defense contractors and SIs with which it partners to further national interest. Really, any organization or vendor with ties to government’s defense could be directed to submit to a national ESIM mandate in the best interest of the country’s defense. A major obstacle to hurdle is that many departments, divisions, and federal entities rely on their own ESIM deployments to manage the cybersecurity concerns within their own small spheres of control.

Unfortunately, not all of these deployed products are capable of promiscuously interoperating with one another -- many contain proprietary data stores and formats with no common interface for data sharing. Technical issues aside, the political power plays around information sharing among government entities has never been an easy bridge to cross. Each organization really cares only for its own sphere of control, and sees the request for information from external agencies as an invasion of their sovereign fiefdom.

Perhaps the only way that a national ESIM infrastructure could work is if such an endeavor were mandated by the government and its purview assigned to a coordinating body, such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) -- a thought that would make those already concerned with the power wielded by the agency exponentially more nervous. Unfortunately, one organization would need to coordinate everything, and DHS might be the only agency that could wrangle the disparate pieces of government into submitting to such a plan. Even with DHS in charge, I wouldn’t anticipate a massive rip-and-replace of existing ESIM products, but the agency could dictate that vendors share information between one another or risk being replaced.

Andrew Hay is senior analyst with The 451 Group's Enterprise Security Practice and the author of three network security books. Follow him on Twitter: http://twitter.com/andrewsmhay.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Commentary
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
Edge-DRsplash-11-edge-ask-the-experts
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
News
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This gives a new meaning to blind leading the blind.
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-27479
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-16
ZOLL Defibrillator Dashboard, v prior to 2.2,The affected product’s web application could allow a low privilege user to inject parameters to contain malicious scripts to be executed by higher privilege users.
CVE-2021-27483
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-16
ZOLL Defibrillator Dashboard, v prior to 2.2,The affected products contain insecure filesystem permissions that could allow a lower privilege user to escalate privileges to an administrative level user.
CVE-2021-27485
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-16
ZOLL Defibrillator Dashboard, v prior to 2.2,The application allows users to store their passwords in a recoverable format, which could allow an attacker to retrieve the credentials from the web browser.
CVE-2021-31159
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-16
Zoho ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus MSP before 10519 is vulnerable to a User Enumeration bug due to improper error-message generation in the Forgot Password functionality, aka SDPMSP-15732.
CVE-2021-31857
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-16
In Zoho ManageEngine Password Manager Pro before 11.1 build 11104, attackers are able to retrieve credentials via a browser extension for non-website resource types.