New computer security guides available
- By William Jackson
- Sep 06, 2007
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has updated its security guidelines for dealing with active content, providing an overview for active content and mobile code in use today and laying out a framework for making security decisions about its use within an organization.
A draft of Special Publication 800-28 Revision 2
, titled 'Guidelines on Active Content and Mobile Code,' has been released for public comment.
NIST also has released its Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), a scheme for developing common descriptors of information technology vulnerabilities. CVSS scores are used in the National Vulnerability Database.
In SP 800-28, NIST defines active content as 'broadly speaking ' electronic documents that can carry out or trigger actions automatically without an individual directly or knowingly invoking the actions.'
NIST offers four broad guidelines for organizations in dealing with active content:
- Understand the concept of active content and how it affects the security of their systems
- Develop policies for active content, including both its creation within the organization and its reception from outside
- Be aware of the specific benefits from using active content and balance them against the associated risks and
- Maintain consistent systemwide security when configuring and integrating products involving active content in their environments.
Comments on version 2, SP 800-28 should be e-mailed by Oct. 12 to [email protected]
with 'Comments on SP 800-28' typed into the subject line.
The Common Vulnerability Scoring System
is being released in its final form. The scheme includes scores for vulnerabilities of from 0 to 10 in each of three groups: a base score that represents the intrinsic threat represented by the vulnerability; a temporal group that reflects characteristics of a vulnerability that change over time; and an environmental group reflecting the characteristics of a vulnerability unique to a user's environment.
CVSS scores can be used with security categories defined in Federal Information Processing Standard 199 to obtain impact scores tailored to an agency's environment.
William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.