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SANS 20 Critical Security Controls

The information security threat landscape is always changing, especially this year

A couple days ago, The SANS Institute announced the release of a major update (Version 3.0) to the 20 Critical Controls, a prioritized baseline of information security measures designed to provide continuous monitoring to better protect government and commercial computers and networks from cyber attacks.  The information security threat landscape is always changing, especially this year with the well publicized breaches.  The particular controls have been tested and provide an effective solution to defending against cyber-attacks.  The focus is critical technical areas than can help an organization prioritize efforts to protect against the most common and dangerous attacks.  Automating security controls is another key area, to help gauge and improve the security posture of an organization.

The update takes into account the information gleaned from law enforcement agencies, forensics experts and penetration testers who have analyzed the various methods of attack.  SANS outlines the controls that would have prevented those attacks from being successful.  Version 3.0 was developed to take the control framework to the next level.  They have realigned the 20 controls and the associated sub-controls based on the current technology and threat environment, including the new threat vectors.  Sub-controls have been added to assist with rapid detection and prevention of attacks.  The 20 Controls have been aligned to the NSA’s Associated Manageable Network Plan Revision 2.0 Milestones.  They have added definitions, guidelines and proposed scoring criteria to evaluate tools for their ability to satisfy the requirements of each of the 20 Controls.  Lastly, they have mapped the findings of the Australian Government Department of Defence, which produced the Top 35 Key Mitigation Strategies, to the 20 Controls, providing measures to help reduce the impact of attacks.

The 20 Critical Security Controls are:

  1. Inventory of Authorized and Unauthorized Devices
  2. Inventory of Authorized and Unauthorized Software
  3. Secure Configurations for Hardware and Software on Laptops, Workstations, and Servers
  4. Secure Configurations for Network Devices such as Firewalls, Routers, and Switches
  5. Boundary Defense
  6. Maintenance, Monitoring, and Analysis of Security Audit Logs
  7. Application Software Security
  8. Controlled Use of Administrative Privileges
  9. Controlled Access Based on the Need to Know
  10. Continuous Vulnerability Assessment and Remediation
  11. Account Monitoring and Control
  12. Malware Defenses
  13. Limitation and Control of Network Ports, Protocols, and Services
  14. Wireless Device Control
  15. Data Loss Prevention
  16. Secure Network Engineering
  17. Penetration Tests and Red Team Exercises
  18. Incident Response Capability
  19. Data Recovery Capability
  20. Security Skills Assessment and Appropriate Training to Fill Gaps

And of course, F5 has solutions that can help with most, if not all, the 20 Critical Controls.



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More Stories By Peter Silva

Peter is an F5 evangelist for security, IoT, mobile and core. His background in theatre brings the slightly theatrical and fairly technical together to cover training, writing, speaking, along with overall product evangelism for F5. He's also produced over 350 videos and recorded over 50 audio whitepapers. After working in Professional Theatre for 10 years, Peter decided to change careers. Starting out with a small VAR selling Netopia routers and the Instant Internet box, he soon became one of the first six Internet Specialists for AT&T managing customers on the original ATT WorldNet network.

Now having his Telco background he moved to Verio to focus on access, IP security along with web hosting. After losing a deal to Exodus Communications (now Savvis) for technical reasons, the customer still wanted Peter as their local SE contact so Exodus made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. As only the third person hired in the Midwest, he helped Exodus grow from an executive suite to two enormous datacenters in the Chicago land area working with such customers as Ticketmaster, Rolling Stone, uBid, Orbitz, Best Buy and others.

Writer, speaker and Video Host, he's also been in such plays as The Glass Menagerie, All’s Well That Ends Well, Cinderella and others.