Ashford University System Development and Critical Infrastructure Discussion

An agency has focused its system development and critical infrastructure data collection efforts on separate engineering management systems for different types of assets and is working on the integration of these systems. In this case, the agency focused on the data collection for two types of assets: water treatment and natural gas delivery management facilities. Please identify what type of critical infrastructure data collection is needed for pavement and storm water management facilities.Chapter 6 discusses the concept of correlation. Assume that An agency has focused its system development and critical infrastructure data collection efforts on separate engineering management systems for different types of assets and is working on the integration of these systems. In this case, the agency focused on the data collection for two types of assets: water treatment and natural gas delivery management facilities. Please identify what type of critical infrastructure data collection is needed for pavement and storm water management facilities.

Cyber Attacks
Protecting National Infrastructure
Student Edition
Edward G. Amoroso
Acquiring Editor: Pam Chester
Development Editor: David Bevans
Project Manager: Paul Gottehrer
Designer: Alisa Andreola
Butterworth-Heinemann is an imprint of Elsevier
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Amoroso, Edward G.
Cyber attacks : protecting national infrastructure / Edward Amoroso, John R. Vacca.–Student ed.
p. cm.
Summary: “Ten basic principles that will reduce the risk of cyber attack to national infrastructure in a substantive manner”–
Provided by publisher.
ISBN 978-0-12-391855-0 (hardback)
1. Cyberterrorism–United States–Prevention. 2. Computer networks–Security measures. 3. Cyberspace–Security measures.
4. Computer crimes–United States–Prevention. 5. National security–United States. I. Vacca, John R. II. Title.
HV6773.2.A47 2012
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN: 978-0-12-391855-0
Printed in the United States of America
12 13 14 15 16 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
For information on all BH publications visit our website at
Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was
before, nor to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those
rights better secured.
Thomas Paine in Common Sense
Before you invest any of your time with this book, please take a
moment and look over the following points. They outline my basic
philosophy of national infrastructure security. I think that your reaction to
these points will give you a pretty good idea of what your reaction will be
to the book.
1. Citizens of free nations cannot hope to express or enjoy their
freedoms if basic security protections are not provided. Security
does not suppress freedom—it makes freedom possible.
2. In virtually every modern nation, computers and networks power
critical infrastructure elements. As a result, cyber attackers can use
computers and networks to damage or ruin the infrastructures that
citizens rely on.
3. Security protections, such as those in security books, were
designed for small-scale environments such as enterprise
computing environments. These protections do not extrapolate to
the protection of massively complex infrastructure.
4. Effective national cyber protections will be driven largely by
cooperation and coordination between commercial, industrial, and
government organizations. Thus, organizational management
issues will be as important to national defense as technical issues.
5. Security is a process of risk reduction, not risk removal. Therefore,
concrete steps can and should be taken to reduce, but not remove,
the risk of cyber attack to national infrastructure.
6. The current risk of catastrophic cyber attack to national
infrastructure must be viewed as extremely high, by any realistic
measure. Taking little or no action to reduce this risk would be a
foolish national decision.
The chapters of this book are organized around 10 basic principles
that will reduce the risk of cyber attack to national infrastructure in a
substantive manner. They are driven by experiences gained managing the
security of one of the largest, most complex infrastructures in the world,
by years of learning from various commercial and government
organizations, and by years of interaction with students and academic
researchers in the security field. They are also driven by personal
experiences dealing with a wide range of successful and unsuccessful
cyber attacks, including ones directed at infrastructure of considerable
value. The implementation of the 10 principles in this book will require
national resolve and changes to the way computing and networking
elements are designed, built, and operated in the context of national
infrastructure. My hope is that the suggestions offered in these pages will
make this process easier.
Student Edition
To make it easier to teach these basic principles in the classroom, Cyber
Attacks Student Edition adds new material developed by John R. Vacca,
Editor-in-Chief of Computer and Information Security Handbook (Morgan
Kaufmann Publishers) aimed specifically at enhancing the student
experience, making it appropriate as a core textbook for instructors
teaching courses in cyber security, information security, digital security,
national security, intelligence studies, technology and infrastructure
protection and similar courses.
Cyber Attacks Student Edition features the addition of case studies to
illustrate actual implementation scenarios discussed in the text. The
Student Edition also adds a host of new pedagogical elements to enhance
learning, including chapter outlines, chapter summaries, learning
checklists, chapter-by-chapter study questions, and more.
Instructor Support for Cyber Attacks Student Edition includes Test
Bank, Lecture Slides, Lesson Plans, and Solutions Manual available online
• Test Bank—Compose, customize, and deliver exams using an
online assessment package in a free Windows-based authoring tool
that makes it easy to build tests using the unique multiple choice
and true or false questions created for Cyber Attacks Student
Edition. What’s more, this authoring tool allows you to export
customized exams directly to Blackboard, WebCT, eCollege,
Angel, and other leading systems. All test bank files are also
conveniently offered in Word format.
• PowerPoint Lecture Slides—Reinforce key topics with focused
PowerPoints, which provide a perfect visual outline with which to
augment your lecture. Each individual book chapter has its own
dedicated slideshow.
• Lesson Plans—Design your course around customized lesson
plans. Each individual lesson plan acts as separate syllabi
containing content synopses, key terms, content synopses,
directions to supplementary websites, and more open-ended critical
thinking questions designed to spur class discussion. These lesson
plans also delineate and connect chapter-based learning objectives
to specific teaching resources, making it easy to catalogue the
resources at your disposal.
The cyber security experts in the AT&T Chief Security Office, my
colleagues across AT&T Labs and the AT&T Chief Technology Office,
my colleagues across the entire AT&T business, and my graduate and
undergraduate students in the Computer Science Department at the
Stevens Institute of Technology have had a profound impact on my
thinking and on the contents of this book. In addition, many prominent
enterprise customers of AT&T with whom I’ve had the pleasure of
serving, especially those in the United States Federal Government, have
been great influencers in the preparation of this material.
I’d also like to extend a great thanks to my wife Lee, daughter
Stephanie (17), son Matthew (15), and daughter Alicia (9) for their
collective patience with my busy schedule.
1. Introduction
National Cyber Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Attacks
Botnet Threat
National Cyber Security Methodology Components
Implementing the Principles Nationally
Protecting the Critical National Infrastructure Against Cyber
Chapter Review Questions/Exercises
2. Deception
Scanning Stage
Deliberately Open Ports
Discovery Stage
Deceptive Documents
Exploitation Stage
Procurement Tricks
Exposing Stage
Interfaces Between Humans and Computers
National Deception Program
The Deception Planning Process Against Cyber Attacks
Chapter Review Questions/Exercises
3. Separation
What Is Separation?
Functional Separation
National Infrastructure Firewalls
DDOS Filtering
SCADA Separation Architecture
Physical Separation
Insider Separation
Asset Separation
Multilevel Security (MLS)
Protecting the Critical National Infrastructure Through Use
of Separation
Chapter Review Questions/Exercises
4. Diversity
Diversity and Worm Propagation
Desktop Computer System Diversity
Diversity Paradox of Cloud Computing
Network Technology Diversity
Physical Diversity
National Diversity Program
Critical Infrastructure Resilience and Diversity Initiative
Chapter Review Questions/Exercises
5. Commonality
Meaningful Best Practices for Infrastructure Protection
Locally Relevant and Appropriate Security Policy
Culture of Security Protection
Infrastructure Simplification
Certification and Education
Career Path and Reward Structure
Responsible Past Security Practice
National Commonality Program
How Critical National Infrastructure Systems Demonstrate
Chapter Review Questions/Exercises
6. Depth
Effectiveness of Depth
Layered Authentication
Layered E-Mail Virus and Spam Protection
Layered Access Controls
Layered Encryption
Layered Intrusion Detection
National Program of Depth
Practical Ways for Achieving Information Assurance in
Infrastructure Networked Environments
Chapter Review Questions/Exercises
7. Discretion
Trusted Computing Base
Security Through Obscurity
Information Sharing
Information Reconnaissance
Obscurity Layers
Organizational Compartments
National Discretion Program
Top-Down and Bottom-Up Sharing of Sensitive Information
Chapter Review Questions/Exercises
8. Collection
Collecting Network Data
Collecting System Data
Security Information and Event Management
Large-Scale Trending
Tracking a Worm
National Collection Program
Data Collection Efforts: Systems and Assets
Chapter Review Questions/Exercises
9. Correlation
Conventional Security Correlation Methods
Quality and Reliability Issues in Data Correlation
Correlating Data to Detect a Worm
Correlating Data to Detect a Botnet
Large-Scale Correlation Process
National Correlation Program
Correlation Rules for Critical National Infrastructure Cyber
Chapter Review Questions/Exercises
10. Awareness
Detecting Infrastructure Attacks
Managing Vulnerability Information
Cyber Security Intelligence Reports
Risk Management Process
Security Operations Centers
National Awareness Program
Connecting Current Cyber Security Operation Centers to
Enhance Situational Awareness
Chapter Review Questions/Exercises
11. Response
Pre- Versus Post-Attack Response
Indications and Warning
Incident Response Teams
Forensic Analysis
Law Enforcement Issues
Disaster Recovery
National Response Program
The Critical National Infrastructure Incident Response
Transitioning from NIPP Steady State to Incident Response
Chapter Review Questions/Exercises
APPENDIX A. National Infrastructure Protection Criteria
Deception Requirements
Separation Requirements
Commonality Requirements
Diversity Requirements
Depth Requirements
Response Requirements
Awareness Requirements
Discretion Requirements
Collection Requirements
Correlation Requirements
APPENDIX B. Case Studies
John R. Vacca
Case Study 1: Cyber Storm
Case Study 2: Cyber Attacks on Critical Infrastructures—A
Risk to the Nation
Case Study 3: Department of Homeland Security Battle
Insider Threats and Maintain National Cyber Security
Case Study 4: Cyber Security Development Life Cycle
Case Study 5
REVIEW. Answers to Review Questions/Exercises, Hands-On
Projects, Case Projects, and Optional Team Case Projects by
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Deception
Chapter 3: Separation
Chapter 4: Diversity
Chapter 5: Commonality
Chapter 6: Depth
Chapter 7: Discretion
Chapter 8: Collection
Chapter 9: Correlation
Chapter 10: Awareness
Chapter 11: Response
Chapter Outline
National Cyber Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Attacks
Botnet Threat
National Cyber Security Methodology Components
Implementing the Principles Nationally
Protecting the Critical National Infrastructure Against Cyber Attacks
Chapter Review Questions/Exercises
Somewhere in his writings—and I regret having forgotten where
—John Von Neumann draws attention to what seemed to him a
contrast. He remarked that for simple mechanisms it is often easier to
describe how they work than what they do, while for more
complicated mechanisms it was usually the other way round.
Edsger W. Dijkstra1
National infrastructure refers to the complex, underlying delivery and
support systems for all large-scale services considered absolutely essential
to a nation. These services include emergency response, law enforcement
databases, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems,
power control networks, military support services, consumer entertainment
systems, financial applications, and mobile telecommunications. Some
national services are provided directly by government, but most are
provided by commercial groups such as Internet service providers, airlines,
and banks. In addition, certain services considered essential to one nation
might include infrastructure support that is controlled by organizations
from another nation. This global interdependency is consistent with the
trends referred to collectively by Thomas Friedman as a “flat world.”2
National infrastructure, especially in the United States, has always
been vulnerable to malicious physical attacks such as equipment
tampering, cable cuts, facility bombing, and asset theft. The events of
September 11, 2001, for example, are the most prominent and recent
instance of a massive physical attack directed at national infrastructure.
During the past couple of decades, however, vast portions of national
infrastructure have become reliant on software, computers, and networks.
This reliance typically includes remote access, often over the Internet, to
the systems that control national services. Adversaries thus can initiate
cyber attacks on infrastructure using worms, viruses, leaks, and the like.
These attacks indirectly target national infrastructure through their
associated automated controls systems (see Figure 1.1).
Figure 1.1 National infrastructure cyber and physical attacks.
A seemingly obvious approach to dealing with this national cyber
threat would involve the use of well-known computer security techniques.
After all, computer security has matured substantially in the past couple of
decades, and considerable expertise now exists on how to protect software,
computers, and networks. In such a national scheme, safeguards such as
firewalls, intrusion detection systems, antivirus software, passwords,
scanners, audit trails, and encryption would be directly embedded into
infrastructure, just as they are currently in small-scale environments. These
national security systems would be connected to a centralized threat
management system, and incident response would follow a familiar sort of
enterprise process. Furthermore, to ensure security policy compliance, one
would expect the usual programs of end-user awareness, security training,
and third-party audit to be directed toward the people building and
operating national infrastructure. Virtually every national infrastructure
protection initiative proposed to date has followed this seemingly
straightforward path.3
While well-known computer security techniques will certainly be
useful for national infrastructure, most practical experience to date
suggests that this conventional approach will not be sufficient. A primary
reason is the size, scale, and scope inherent in complex national
infrastructure. For example, where an enterprise might involve
manageably sized assets, national infrastructure will require unusually
powerful computing support with the ability to handle enormous volumes
of data. Such volumes will easily exceed the storage and processing
capacity of typical enterprise security tools such as a commercial threat
management system. Unfortunately, this incompatibility conflicts with
current initiatives in government and industry to reduce costs through the
use of common commercial off-the-shelf products.
National infrastructure databases far exceed the size of even the largest
commercial databases.
In addition, whereas enterprise systems can rely on manual
intervention by a local expert during a security disaster, large-scale
national infrastructure generally requires a carefully orchestrated response
by teams of security experts using predetermined processes. These teams
of experts will often work in different groups, organizations, or even
countries. In the worst cases, they will cooperate only if forced by
government, often sharing just the minimum amount of information to
avoid legal consequences. An additional problem is that the complexity
associated with national infrastructure leads to the bizarre situation where
response teams often have partial or incorrect understanding about how the
underlying systems work. For these reasons, seemingly convenient
attempts to apply existing small-scale security processes to large-scale
infrastructure attacks will ultimately fail (see Figure 1.2).
Figure 1.2 Differences between small- and large-scale cyber security.
As a result, a brand-new type of national infrastructure protection
methodology is required—one that combines the best elements of existing
computer and network security techniques with the unique and difficult
challenges associated with complex, large-scale national services. This
book offers just such a protection methodology for national infrastructure.
It is based on a quarter century of practical experience designing, building,
and operating cyber security systems for government, commercial, and
consumer infrastructure. It is represented as a series of protection
principles that can be applied to new or existing systems. Because of the
unique needs of national infrastructure, especially its massive size, scale,
and scope, some aspects of the methodology will be unfamiliar to the
computer security community. In fact, certain elements of the approach,
such as our favorable view of “security through obscurity,” might appear
in direct conflict with conventional views of how computers and networks
should be protected.
National Cyber Threats, Vulnerabilities, and
Conventional computer security is based on the oft-repeated taxonomy of
security threats which includes confidentiality, integrity, availability, and
theft. In the broadest sense, all four diverse threat types will have
applicability in national infrastructure. For example, protections are
required equally to deal with sensitive information leaks (confidentiality),
worms affecting the operation of some critical application (integrity),
botnets knocking out an important system (availability), or citizens having
their identities compromised (theft). Certainly, the availability threat to
national services must be viewed as particularly important, given the
nature of the threat and its relation to national assets. One should thus
expect particular attention to availability threats to national infrastructure.
Nevertheless, it makes sense to acknowledge that all four types of security
threats in the conventional taxonomy of computer security must be
addressed in any national infrastructure protection methodology.
Any of the most common security concern—confidentiality, integrity,
availability, and theft—threaten our national infrastructure.
Vulnerabilities are more difficult to associate with any taxonomy.
Obviously, national infrastructure must address well-known problems such
as improperly configured equipment, poorly designed local area networks,
unpatched system software, exploitable bugs in application code, and
locally disgruntled employees. The problem is that the most fundamental
vulnerability in national infrastructure involves the staggering complexity
inherent in the underlying systems. This complexity is so pervasive that
many times security incidents uncover aspects of computing functionality
that were previously unknown to anyone, including sometimes the system
designers. Furthermore, in certain cases, the optimal security solution
involves simplifying and cleaning up poorly conceived infrastructure. This
is bad news, because most large organizations are inept at simplifying
much of anything.
The best one can do for a comprehensive view of the vulnerabilities
associated with national infrastructure is to address their relative
exploitation points. This can be done with an abstract national
infrastructure cyber security model that includes three types of malicious
adversaries: external adversary (hackers on the Internet), internal
adversary (trusted insiders), and supplier adversary (vendors and
partners). Using this model, three exploitation points emerge for national
infrastructure: remote access (Internet and telework), system
administration and normal usage (management and use of software,
computers, and networks), and supply chain (procurement and
outsourcing) (see Figure 1.3).
Figure 1.3 Adversaries and exploitation points in national infrastructure.
These three exploitation points and three types of adversaries can be
associated with a variety of possible motivations for initiating either a full
or test attack on national infrastructure.
Five Possible Motivations for an Infrastructure Attack

Country-sponsored warfare—National infrastructure attacks
sponsored and funded by enemy countries must be considered the
most significant potential motivation, because the intensity of
adversary capability and willingness to attack is potentially
• Terrorist attack—The terrorist motivation is also signifi cant,
especially because groups driven by terror can easily obtain
sufficient capability and funding to perform significant attacks on
• Commercially motivated attack—When one company chooses to
utilize cyber attacks to gain a commercial advantage, it becomes a
national infrastructure incident if the target company is a purveyor
of some national asset.
• Financially driven criminal attack—Identify theft is the most
common example of a fi nancially driven attack by criminal
groups, but other cases exist, such as companies being extorted to
avoid a cyber incident.
• Hacking—One must not forget that many types of attacks are still
driven by the motivation of hackers, who are often just
mischievous youths trying to learn or to build a reputation within
the hacking community. This is much less a sinister motivation,
and national leaders should try to identify better ways to tap this
boundless capability and energy.
Each of the three exploitation points might be utilized in a cyber
attack on national infrastructure. For example, a supplier might use a
poorly designed supply chain to insert Trojan horse code into a software
component that controls some national asset, or a hacker on the Internet
might take advantage of some unprotected Internet access point to break
into a vulnerable service. Similarly, an insider might use trusted access for
either system administration or normal system usage to create an attack.
The potential also exists for an external adversary to gain valuable insider
access through patient, measured means, such as gaining employment in
an infrastructure-supporting organization and then becoming trusted
through a long process of work performance. In each case, the possibility
exists that a limited type of engagement might be performed as part of a
planned test or exercise. This seems especially likely if the attack is
country or terrorist sponsored, because it is consistent with past practice.
When to issue a vulnerability risk advisory and when to keep the risk
confidential must be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the
At each exploitation point, the vulnerability being used might be a wellknown problem previously reported in an authoritative public advisory, or
it could be a proprietary issue kept hidden by a local organization. It is
entirely appropriate for a recognized authority to make a detailed public
vulnerability advisory if the benefits of notifying the good guys outweigh
the risks of alerting the bad guys. This cost–benefit result usually occurs
when many organizations can directly benefit from the information and
can thus take immediate action. When the reported vulnerability is unique
and isolated, however, then reporting the details might be irresponsible,
especially if the notification process does not enable a more timely fix.
This is a key issue, because many government authorities continue to
consider new rules for mandatory reporting. If the information being
demanded is not properly protected, then the reporting process might result
in more harm than good.
Botnet Threat
Perhaps the most insidious type of attack that exists today is the botnet.4 In
short, a botnet involves remote control of a collection of compromised
end-user machines, usually broadband-connected PCs. The controlled enduser machines, which are referred to as bots, are programmed to attack
some target that is designated by the botnet controller. The attack is tough
to stop because end-user machines are typically administered in an
ineffective manner. Furthermore, once the attack begins, it occurs from
sources potentially scattered across geographic, political, and service
provider boundaries. Perhaps worse, bots are programmed to take
commands from multiple controller systems, so any attempts to destroy a
given controller result in the bots simply homing to another one.
The Five Entities That Comprise a Botnet Attack
• Botnet operator—This is the individual, group, or country that
creates the botnet, including its setup and operation.When the
botnet is used for financial gain, it is the operator who will benefit.
Law enforcement and cyber security initiatives have found it very
difficult to identify the operators. The press, in particular, has done
a poor job reporting on the presumed identity of botnet operators,
often suggesting sponsorship by some country when little
supporting evidence exists.
• Botnet controller—This is the set of servers that command and
control the operation of a botnet. Usually these servers have been
maliciously compromised for this purpose. Many times, the real
owner of a server that has been compromised will not even realize
what has occurred. The type of activity directed by a controller
includes all recruitment, setup, communication, and attack activity.
Typical botnets include a handful of controllers, usually distributed
across the globe in a non-obvious manner.
• Collection of bots—These are the end-user, broadband-connected
PCs infected with botnet malware. They are usually owned and
operated by normal citizens, who become unwitting and
unknowing dupes in a botnet attack. When a botnet includes a
concentration of PCs in a given region, observers often incorrectly
attribute the attack to that region. The use of smart mobile devices
in a botnet will grow as upstream capacity and device processing
power increase.
• Botnet software drop—Most botnets include servers designed to
store software that might be useful for the botnets during their
lifecycle. Military personnel might refer to this as an arsenal. Like
controllers, botnet software drop points are usually servers
compromised for this purpose, often unknown to the normal server
• Botnet target—This is the location that is targeted in the attack.
Usually, it is a website, but it can really be any device, system, or
network that is visible to the bots. In most cases, botnets target
prominent and often controversial websites, simply because they
are visible via the Internet and generally have a great deal at stake
in terms of their availability. This increases gain and leverage for
the attacker. Logically, however, botnets can target anything
The way a botnet works is that the controller is set up to communicate
with the bots via some designated protocol, most often Internet Relay Chat
(IRC). This is done via malware inserted into the end-user PCs that
comprise the bots. A great challenge in this regard is that home PCs and
laptops are so poorly administered. Amazingly, over time, the day-to-day
system and security administration task for home computers has gravitated
to the end user. This obligation results in both a poor user experience and
general dissatisfaction with the security task. For example, when a typical
computer buyer brings a new machine home, it has probably been
preloaded with security software by the retailer. From this point onward,
however, that home buyer is then tasked with all responsibility for
protecting the machine. This includes keeping firewall, intrusion detection,
antivirus, and antispam software up to date, as well as ensuring that all
software patches are current. When these tasks are not well attended, the
result is a more vulnerable machine that is easily turned into a bot. (Sadly,
even if a machine is properly managed, expert bot software designers
might find a way to install the malware anyway.)
Home PC users may never know they are being used for a botnet scheme.
Once a group of PCs has been compromised into bots, attacks can
thus be launched by the controller via a command to the bots, which would
then do as they are instructed. This might not occur instantaneously with
the infection; in fact, experience suggests that many botnets lay dormant
for a great deal of time. Nevertheless, all sorts of attacks are possible in a
botnet arrangement, including the now-familiar distributed denial of
service attack (DDOS). In such a case, the bots create more inbound traffic
than the target gateway can handle. For example, if some theoretical
gateway allows for 1 Gbps of inbound traffic, and the botnet creates an
inbound stream larger than 1 Gbps, then a logjam results at the inbound
gateway, and a denial of service condition occurs (see Figure 1.4).
A DDOS attack is like a cyber traffic jam.
Figure 1.4 Sample DDOS attack from a botnet.
Any serious present study of cyber security must acknowledge the
unique threat posed by botnets. Virtually any Internet-connected system is
vulnerable to major outages from a botnet-originated DDOS attack. The
physics of the situation are especially depressing; that is, a botnet that
might steal 500 Kbps of upstream capacity from each bot (which would
generally allow for concurrent normal computing and networking) would
only need three bots to collapse a target T1 connection. Following this
logic, only 16,000 bots would be required theoretically to fill up a 10-Gbps
connection. Because most of the thousands of botnets that have been
observed on the Internet are at least this size, the threat is obvious;
however, many recent and prominent botnets such as Storm and Conficker
are much larger, comprising as many as several million bots, so the threat
to national infrastructure is severe and immediate.
National Cyber
Our proposed methodology for protecting national infrastructure is
presented as a series of ten basic design and operation principles. The
implication is that, by using these principles as a guide for either
improving existing infrastructure components or building new ones, the
security result will be desirable, including a reduced risk from botnets. The
methodology addresses all four types of security threats to national
infrastructure; it also deals with all three types of adversaries to national
infrastructure, as well as the three exploitation points detailed in the
infrastructure model. The list of principles in the methodology serves as a
guide to the remainder of this chapter, as well as an outline for the
remaining chapters of the book:
• Chapter 2: Deception—The openly advertised use of deception
creates uncertainty for adversaries because they will not know if a
discovered problem is real or a trap. The more common hidden use
of deception allows for real-time behavioral analysis if an intruder
is caught in a trap. Programs of national infrastructure protection
must include the appropriate use of deception, especially to reduce
the malicious partner and supplier risk.

Chapter 3: Separation—Network separation is currently
accomplished using firewalls, but programs of national
infrastructure protection will require three specific changes.
Specifically, national infrastructure must include network-based
firewalls on high-capacity backbones to throttle DDOS attacks,
internal firewalls to segregate infrastructure and reduce the risk of
sabotage, and better tailoring of firewall features for specific
applications such as SCADA protocols.5

Chapter 4: Diversity—Maintaining diversity in the products,
services, and technologies supporting national infrastructure
reduces the chances that one common weakness can be exploited to
produce a cascading attack. A massive program of coordinated
procurement and supplier management is required to achieve a
desired level of national diversity across all assets. This will be
tough, because it conflicts with most cost-motivated information
technology procurement initiatives designed to minimize diversity
in infrastructure.
• Chapter 5: Commonality—The consistent use of security best
practices in the administration of national infrastructure ensures
that no infrastructure component is either poorly managed or left
completely unguarded. National programs of standards selection
and audit validation, especially with an emphasis on uniform
programs of simplification, are thus required. This can certainly

include citizen end users, but one should never rely on high levels
of security compliance in the broad population.
Chapter 6: Depth—The use of defense in depth in national
infrastructure ensures that no critical asset is reliant on a single
security layer; thus, if any layer should fail, an additional layer is
always present to mitigate an attack. Analysis is required at the
national level to ensure that all critical assets are protected by at
least two layers, preferably more.
Chapter 7: Discretion—The use of personal discretion in the
sharing of information about national assets is a practical technique
that many computer security experts find difficult to accept
because it conflicts with popular views on “security through
obscurity.” Nevertheless, large-scale infrastructure protection
cannot be done properly unless a national culture of discretion and
secrecy is nurtured. It goes without saying that such discretion
should never be put in place to obscure illegal or unethical
Chapter 8: Collection—The collection of audit log information is a
necessary component of an infrastructure security scheme, but it
introduces privacy, size, and scale issues not seen in smaller
computer and network settings. National infrastructure protection
will require a data collection approach that is acceptable to the
citizenry and provides the requisite level of detail for security
Chapter 9: Correlation—Correlation is the most fundamental of
all analysis techniques for cyber security, but modern attack
methods such as botnets greatly complicate its use for attackrelated indicators. National-level correlation must be performed
using all available sources and the best available technology and
algorithms. Correlating information around a botnet attack is one of
the more challenging present tasks in cyber security.
Chapter 10: Awareness—Maintaining situational awareness is
more important in large-scale infrastructure protection than in
traditional computer and network security because it helps to
coordinate the real-time aspect of multiple infrastructure
components. A program of national situational awareness must be
in place to ensure proper management decision-making for national
Chapter 11: Response—Incident response for national
infrastructure protection is especially difficult because it generally
involves complex dependencies and interactions between disparate
government and commercial groups. It is best accomplished at the
national level when it focuses on early indications, rather than on
incidents that have already begun to damage national assets.
The balance of this chapter will introduce each principle, with
discussion on its current use in computer and network security, as well as
its expected benefits for national infrastructure protection.
The principle of deception involves the deliberate introduction of
misleading functionality or misinformation into national infrastructure for
the purpose of tricking an adversary. The idea is that an adversary would
be presented with a view of national infrastructure functionality that might
include services or interface components that are present for the sole
purpose of fakery. Computer scientists refer to this functionality as a honey
pot, but the use of deception for national infrastructure could go far
beyond this conventional view. Specifically, deception can be used to
protect against certain types of cyber attacks that no other security method
will handle. Law enforcement agencies have been using deception
effectively for many years, often catching cyber stalkers and criminals by
spoofing the reported identity of an end point. Even in the presence of such
obvious success, however, the cyber security community has yet to
embrace deception as a mainstream protection measure.
Deception is an oft-used tool by law enforcement agencies to catch cyber
stalkers and predators.
Deception in computing typically involves a layer of cleverly
designed trap functionality strategically embedded into the internal and
external interfaces for services. Stated more simply, deception involves
fake functionality embedded into real interfaces. An example might be a
deliberately planted trap link on a website that would lead potential
intruders into an environment designed to highlight adversary behavior.
When the deception is open and not secret, it might introduce uncertainty
for adversaries in the exploitation of real vulnerabilities, because the
adversary might suspect that the discovered entry point is a trap. When it is
hidden and stealth, which is the more common situation, it serves as the
basis for real-time forensic analysis of adversary behavior. In either case,
the result is a public interface that includes real services, deliberate honey
pot traps, and the inevitable exploitable vulnerabilities that unfortunately
will be present in all nontrivial interfaces (see Figure 1.5).
Figure 1.5 Components of an interface with deception.
Only relatively minor tests of honey pot technology have been
reported to date, usually in the context of a research effort. Almost no
reports are available on the day-to-day use of deception as a structural
component of a real enterprise security program. In fact, the vast majority
of security programs for companies, government agencies, and national
infrastructure would include no such functionality. Academic computer
scientists have shown little interest in this type of security, as evidenced by
the relatively thin body of literature on the subject. This lack of interest
might stem from the discomfort associated with using computing to
mislead. Another explanation might be the relative ineffectiveness of
deception against the botnet threat, which is clearly the most important
security issue on the Internet today. Regardless of the cause, this tendency
to avoid the use of deception is unfortunate, because many cyber attacks,
such as subtle break-ins by trusted insiders and Trojan horses being
maliciously inserted by suppliers into delivered software, cannot be easily
remedied by any other means.
Deception is less effective against botnets than other types of attack
The most direct benefit of deception is that it enables forensic
analysis of intruder activity. By using a honey pot, unique insights into
attack methods can be gained by watching what is occurring in real time.
Such deception obviously works best in a hidden, stealth mode, unknown
to the intruder, because if the intruder realizes that some vulnerable
exploitation point is a fake, then no exploitation will occur. Honey pot
pioneers Cliff Stoll, Bill Cheswick, and Lance Spitzner have provided a
majority of the reported experience in real-time forensics using honey
pots. They have all suggested that the most difficult task involves creating
believability in the trap. It is worth noting that connecting a honey pot to
real assets is a terrible idea.
Do not connect honey pots to real assets!
An additional potential benefit of deception is that it can introduce the
clever idea that some discovered vulnerability might instead be a
deliberately placed trap. Obviously, such an approach is only effective if
the use of deception is not hidden; that is, the adversary must know that
deception is an approved and accepted technique used for protection. It
should therefore be obvious that the major advantage here is that an
accidental vulnerability, one that might previously have been an open door
for an intruder, will suddenly look like a possible trap. A further profound
notion, perhaps for open discussion, is whether just the implied statement
that deception might be present (perhaps without real justification) would
actually reduce risk. Suppliers, for example, might be less willing to take
the risk of Trojan horse insertion if the procuring organization advertises
an open research and development program of detailed software test and
inspection against this type of attack.
The principle of separation involves enforcement of access policy
restrictions on the users and resources in a computing environment. Access
policy restrictions result in separation domains, which are arguably the
most common security architectural concept in use today. This is good
news, because the creation of access-policy-based separation domains will
be essential in the protection of national infrastructure. Most companies
today will typically use firewalls to create perimeters around their
presumed enterprise, and access decisions are embedded in the associated
rules sets. This use of enterprise firewalls for separation is complemented
by several other common access techniques:
• Authentication and identity management—These methods are used
to validate and manage the identities on which separation decisions
are made. They are essential in every enterprise but cannot be
relied upon solely for infrastructure security. Malicious insiders,
for example, will be authorized under such systems. In addition,
external attacks such as DDOS are unaffected by authentication
and identity management.
• Logical access controls—The access controls inherent in operating
systems and applications provide some degree of separation, but
they are also weak in the presence of compromised insiders.
Furthermore, underlying vulnerabilities in applications and
operating systems can often be used to subvert these methods.
• LAN controls—Access control lists on local area network (LAN)
components can provide separation based on information such as
Internet Protocol (IP) or media access control (MAC) address. In
this regard, they are very much like firewalls but typically do not
extend their scope beyond an isolated segment.
• Firewalls—For large-scale infrastructure, firewalls are particularly
useful, because they separate one network from another. Today,
every Internet-based connection is almost certainly protected by
some sort of firewall functionality. This approach worked
especially well in the early years of the Internet, when the number
of Internet connections to the enterprise was small. Firewalls do
remain useful, however, even with the massive connectivity of
most groups to the Internet. As a result, national infrastructure
should continue to include the use of firewalls to protect known
perimeter gateways to the Internet.
Given the massive scale and complexity associated with national
infrastructure, three specific separation enhancements are required, and all
are extensions of the firewall concept.
Required Separation Enhancements for National Infrastructure
1. The use of network-based firewalls is absolutely required for many
national infrastructure applications, especially ones vulnerable to
DDOS attacks from the Internet. This use of network-based
mediation can take advantage of high-capacity network backbones
if the service provider is involved in running the firewalls.
2. The use of firewalls to segregate and isolate internal infrastructure
components from one another is a mandatory technique for
simplifying the implementation of access control policies in an
organization. When insiders have malicious intent, any exploit they
might attempt should be explicitly contained by internal firewalls.
3. The use of commercial off-the-shelf firewalls, especially for
SCADA usage, will require tailoring of the firewall to the unique
protocol needs of the application. It is not acceptable for national
infrastructure protection to retrofi t the use of a generic,
commercial, off-the-shelf tool that is not optimized for its specific
use (see Figure 1.6 )
Figure 1.6 Firewall enhancements for national infrastructure.
With the advent of cloud computing, many enterprise and government
agency security managers have come to acknowledge the benefits of
network-based firewall processing. The approach scales well and helps to
deal with the uncontrolled complexity one typically finds in national
infrastructure. That said, the reality is that most national assets are still
secured by placing a firewall at each of the hundreds or thousands of
presumed choke points. This approach does not scale and leads to a false
sense of security. It should also be recognized that the firewall is not the
only device subjected to such scale problems. Intrusion detection systems,
antivirus filtering, threat management, and denial of service filtering also
require a network-based approach to function properly in national
An additional problem that exists in current national infrastructure is
the relative lack of architectural separation used in an internal, trusted
network. Most security engineers know that large systems are best
protected by dividing them into smaller systems. Firewalls or packet
filtering routers can be used to segregate an enterprise network into
manageable domains. Unfortunately, the current state of the practice in
infrastructure protection rarely includes a disciplined approach to
separating internal assets. This is unfortunate, because it allows an intruder
in one domain to have access to a more expansive view of the
organizational infrastructure. The threat increases when the firewall has
not been optimized for applications such as SCADA that require
specialized protocol support.
Parceling a network into manageable smaller domains creates an
environment that is easier to protect.
The principle of diversity involves the selection and use of technology and
systems that are intentionally different in substantive ways. These
differences can include technology source, programming language,
computing platform, physical location, and product vendor. For national
infrastructure, realizing such diversity requires a coordinated program of
procurement to ensure a proper mix of technologies and vendors. The
purpose of introducing these differences is to deliberately create a measure
of non-interoperability so that an attack cannot easily cascade from one
component to another through exploitation of some common vulnerability.
Certainly, it would be possible, even in a diverse environment, for an
exploit to cascade, but the likelihood is reduced as the diversity profile
This concept is somewhat controversial, because so much of
computer science theory and information technology practice in the past
couple of decades has been focused on maximizing interoperability of
technologies. This might help explain the relative lack of attentiveness that
diversity considerations receive in these fields. By way of analogy,
however, cyber attacks on national infrastructure are mitigated by diversity
technology just as disease propagation is reduced by a diverse biological
ecosystem. That is, a problem that originates in one area of infrastructure
with the intention of automatic propagation will only succeed in the
presence of some degree of interoperability. If the technologies are
sufficiently diverse, then the attack propagation will be reduced or even
stopped. As such, national asset managers are obliged to consider means
for introducing diversity in a cost-effective manner to realize its security
benefits (see Figure 1.7).
Figure 1.7 Introducing diversity to national infrastructure.
Diversity is especially tough to implement in national infrastructure
for several reasons. First, it must be acknowledged that a single, major
software vendor tends to currently dominate the personal computer (PC)
operating system business landscape in most government and enterprise
settings. This is not likely to change, so national infrastructure security
initiatives must simply accept an ecosystem lacking in diversity in the PC
landscape. The profile for operating system software on computer servers
is slightly better from a diversity perspective, but the choices remain
limited to a very small number of available sources. Mobile operating
systems currently offer considerable diversity, but one cannot help but
expect to see a trend toward greater consolidation.
Second, diversity conflicts with the often-found organizational goal
of simplifying supplier and vendor relationships; that is, when a common
technology is used throughout an organization, day-to-day maintenance,
administration, and training costs are minimized. Furthermore, by
purchasing in bulk, better terms are often available from a vendor. In
contrast, the use of diversity could result in a reduction in the level of
service provided in an organization. For example, suppose that an Internet
service provider offers particularly secure and reliable network services to
an organization. Perhaps the reliability is even measured to some
impressive quantitative availability metric. If the organization is
committed to diversity, then one might be forced to actually introduce a
second provider with lower levels of reliability.
Enforcing diversity of products and services might seem counterintuitive if
you have a reliable provider.
In spite of these drawbacks, diversity carries benefits that are
indisputable for large-scale infrastructure. One of the great challenges in
national infrastructure protection will thus involve finding ways to
diversify technology products and services without increasing costs and
losing business leverage with vendors.
The principle of consistency involves uniform attention to security best
practices across national infrastructure components. Determining which
best practices are relevant for which national asset requires a combination
of local knowledge about the asset, as well as broader knowledge of
security vulnerabilities in generic infrastructure protection. Thus, the most
mature approach to consistency will combine compliance with relevant
standards such as the Sarbanes–Oxley controls in the United States, with
locally derived security policies that are tailored to the organizational
mission. This implies that every organization charged with the design or
operation of national infrastructure must have a local security policy.
Amazingly, some large groups do not have such a policy today.
The types of best practices that are likely to be relevant for national
infrastructure include well-defined software lifecycle methodologies,
timely processes for patching software and systems, segregation of duty
controls in system administration, threat management of all collected
security information, security awareness training for all system
administrators, operational configurations for infrastructure management,
and use of software security tools to ensure proper integrity management.
Most security experts agree on which best practices to include in a generic
set of security requirements, as evidenced by the inclusion of a common
core set of practices in every security standard. Attentiveness to
consistency is thus one of the less controversial of our recommended
The greatest challenge in implementing best practice consistency
across infrastructure involves auditing. The typical audit process is
performed by an independent third-party entity doing an analysis of target
infrastructure to determine consistency with a desired standard. The result
of the audit is usually a numeric score, which is then reported widely and
used for management decisions. In the United States, agencies of the
federal government are audited against a cyber security standard known as
FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act). While auditing
does lead to improved best practice coverage, there are often problems.
For example, many audits are done poorly, which results in confusion and
improper management decisions. In addition, with all the emphasis on
numeric ratings, many agencies focus more on their score than on good
security practice.
A good audit score is important but should not replace good security
Today, organizations charged with protecting national infrastructure
are subjected to several types of security audits. Streamlining these
standards would certainly be a good idea, but some additional items for
consideration include improving the types of common training provided to
security administrators, as well as including past practice in infrastructure
protection in common audit standards. The most obvious practical
consideration for national infrastructure, however, would be national-level
agreement on which standard or standards would be used to determine
competence to protect national assets. While this is a straightforward
concept, it could be tough to obtain wide concurrence among all national
participants. A related issue involves commonality in national
infrastructure operational configurations; this reduces the chances that a
rogue configuration installed for malicious purposes, perhaps by
compromised insiders.
A national standard of competence for protecting our assets is needed.
The principle of depth involves the use of multiple security layers of
protection for national infrastructure assets. These layers protect assets
from both internal and external attacks via the familiar “defense in depth”
approach; that is, multiple layers reduce the risk of attack by increasing the
chances that at least one layer will be effective. This should appear to be a
somewhat sketchy situation, however, from the perspective of traditional
engineering. Civil engineers, for example, would never be comfortable
designing a structure with multiple flawed supports in the hopes that one
of them will hold the load. Unfortunately, cyber security experts have no
choice but to rely on this flawed notion, perhaps highlighting the relative
immaturity of security as an engineering discipline.
One hint as to why depth is such an important requirement is that
national infrastructure components are currently controlled by software,
and everyone knows that the current state of software engineering is
abysmal. Compared to other types of engineering, software stands out as
the only one that accepts the creation of knowingly flawed products as
acceptable. The result is that all nontrivial software has exploitable
vulnerabilities, so the idea that one should create multiple layers of
security defense is unavoidable. It is worth mentioning that the degree of
diversity in these layers will also have a direct impact on their
effectiveness (see Figure 1.8).
Software engineering standards do not contain the same level of quality as
civil and other engineering standards.
Figure 1.8 National infrastructure security through defense in depth.
To maximize the usefulness of defense layers in national
infrastructure, it is recommended that a combination of functional and
procedural controls be included. For example, a common first layer of
defense is to install an access control mechanism for the admission of
devices to the local area network. This could involve router controls in a
small network or firewall access rules in an enterprise. In either case, this
first line of defense is clearly functional. As such, a good choice for a
second layer of defense might involve something procedural, such as the
deployment of scanning to determine if inappropriate devices have gotten
through the first layer. Such diversity will increase the chances that the
cause of failure in one layer is unlikely to cause a similar failure in another
A great complication in national infrastructure protection is that many
layers of defense assume the existence of a defined network perimeter. For
example, the presence of many flaws in enterprise security found by
auditors is mitigated by the recognition that intruders would have to
penetrate the enterprise perimeter to exploit these weaknesses.
Unfortunately, for most national assets, finding a perimeter is no longer
possible. The assets of a country, for example, are almost impossible to
define within some geographic or political boundary, much less a network
one. Security managers must therefore be creative in identifying controls
that will be meaningful for complex assets whose properties are not always
evident. The risk of getting this wrong is that in providing multiple layers
of defense, one might misapply the protections and leave some portion of
the asset base with no layers in place.
The principle of discretion involves individuals and groups making good
decisions to obscure sensitive information about national infrastructure.
This is done by combining formal mandatory information protection
programs with informal discretionary behavior. Formal mandatory
programs have been in place for many years in the U.S. federal
government, where documents are associated with classifications, and
policy enforcement is based on clearances granted to individuals. In the
most intense environments, such as top-secret compartments in the
intelligence community, violations of access policies could be interpreted
as espionage, with all of the associated criminal implications. For this
reason, prominent breaches of highly classified government information
are not common.
Naturally, top-secret information within the intelligence community is at
great risk for attack or infiltration.
In commercial settings, formal information protection programs are
gaining wider acceptance because of the increased need to protect
personally identifiable information (PII) such as credit card numbers.
Employees of companies around the world are starting to understand the
importance of obscuring certain aspects of corporate activity, and this is
healthy for national infrastructure protection. In fact, programs of
discretion for national infrastructure protection will require a combination
of corporate and government security policy enforcement, perhaps with
custom-designed information markings for national assets. The resultant
discretionary policy serves as a layer of protection to prevent national
infrastructure-related information from reaching individuals who have no
need to know such information.
A barrier in our recommended application of discretion is the
maligned notion of “security through obscurity.” Security experts,
especially cryptographers, have long complained that obscurity is an
unacceptable protection approach. They correctly reference the problems
of trying to secure a system by hiding its underlying detail. Inevitably, an
adversary discovers the hidden design secrets and the security protection is
lost. For this reason, conventional computer security correctly dictates an
open approach to software, design, and algorithms. An advantage of this
open approach is the social review that comes with widespread
advertisement; for example, the likelihood is low of software ever being
correct without a significant amount of intense review by experts. So, the
general computer security argument against “security through obscurity” is
largely valid in most cases.
“Security through obscurity” may actually leave assets more vulnerable to
attack than an open approach would.
Nevertheless, any manager charged with the protection of nontrivial,
large-scale infrastructure will tell you that discretion and, yes, obscurity
are indispensable components in a protection program. Obscuring details
around technology used, software deployed, systems purchased, and
configurations managed will help to avoid or at least slow down certain
types of attacks. Hackers often claim that by discovering this type of
information about a company and then advertising the weaknesses they are
actually doing the local security team a favor. They suggest that such
advertisement is required to motivate a security team toward a solution,
but this is actually nonsense. Programs around proper discretion and
obscurity for infrastructure information are indispensable and must be
coordinated at the national level.
The principle of collection involves automated gathering of system-related
information about national infrastructure to enable security analysis. Such
collection is usually done in real time and involves probes or hooks in
applications, system software, network elements, or hardware devices that
gather information of interest. The use of audit trails in small-scale
computer security is an example of a long-standing collection practice that
introduces very little controversy among experts as to its utility. Security
devices such as firewalls produce log files, and systems purported to have
some degree of security usefulness will also generate an audit trail output.
The practice is so common that a new type of product, called a security
information management system (SIMS), has been developed to process all
this data.
The primary operational challenge in setting up the right type of
collection process for computers and networks has been twofold: First,
decisions must be made about what types of information are to be
collected. If this decision is made correctly, then the information collected
should correspond to exactly the type of data required for security analysis,
and nothing else. Second, decisions must be made about how much
information is actually collected. This might involve the use of existing
system functions, such as enabling the automatic generation of statistics on
a router; or it could involve the introduction of some new type of function
that deliberately gathers the desired information. Once these
considerations are handled, appropriate mechanisms for collecting data
from national infrastructure can be embedded into the security architecture
(see Figure 1.9).
Figure 1.9 Collecting national infrastructure-related security information.
The technical and operational challenges associated with the
collection of logs and audit trails are heightened in the protection of
national assets. Because national infrastructure is so complex, determining
what information should be collected turns out to be a difficult exercise. In
particular, the potential arises with large-scale collection to intrude on the
privacy of individuals and groups within a nation. As such, any initiative
to protect infrastructure through the collection of data must include at least
some measure of privacy policy determination. Similarly, the volumes of
data collected from large infrastructure can exceed practical limits.
Telecommunications collection systems designed to protect the integrity of
a service provider backbone, for example, can easily generate many
terabytes of data in hours of processing.
What and how much data to collect is an operational challenge.
In both cases, technical and operational expertise must be applied to
ensure that the appropriate data is collected in the proper amounts. The
good news is that virtually all security protection algorithms require no
deep, probing information of the type that might generate privacy or
volumetric issues. The challenge arises instead when collection is done
without proper advance analysis which often results in the collection of
more data than is needed. This can easily lead to privacy problems in some
national collection repositories, so planning is particularly necessary. In
any event, a national strategy of data collection is required, with the usual
sorts of legal and policy guidance on who collects what and under which
circumstances. As we suggested above, this exercise must be guided by the
requirements for security analysis—and nothing else.
Only collect as much data as is necessary for security purposes.
The principle of correlation involves a specific type of analysis that can be
performed on factors related to national infrastructure protection. The goal
of correlation is to identify whether security-related indicators might
emerge from the analysis. For example, if some national computing asset
begins operating in a sluggish manner, then other factors would be
examined for a possible correlative relationship. One could imagine the
local and wide area networks being analyzed for traffic that might be of an
attack nature. In addition, similar computing assets might be examined to
determine if they are experiencing a similar functional problem. Also, all
software and services embedded in the national asset might be analyzed
for known vulnerabilities. In each case, the purpose of the correlation is to
combine and compare factors to help explain a given security issue. This
type of comparison-oriented analysis is indispensable for national
infrastructure because of its complexity.
Monitoring and analyzing networks and data collection may reveal a
hidden or emerging security threat.
Interestingly, almost every major national infrastructure protection
initiative attempted to date has included a fusion center for real-time
correlation of data. A fusion center is a physical security operations center
with means for collecting and analyzing multiple sources of ingress data. It
is not uncommon for such a center to include massive display screens with
colorful, visualized representations, nor is it uncommon to find such
centers in the military with teams of enlisted people performing the
manual chores. This is an important point, because, while such automated
fusion is certainly promising, best practice in correlation for national
infrastructure protection must include the requirement that human
judgment be included in the analysis. Thus, regardless of whether
resources are centralized into one physical location, the reality is that
human beings will need to be included in the processing (see Figure 1.10).
Figure 1.10 National infrastructure high-level correlation approach.
In practice, fusion centers and the associated processes and
correlation algorithms have been tough to implement, even in small-scale
environments. Botnets, for example, involve the use of source systems that
are selected almost arbitrarily. As such, the use of correlation to determine
where and why the attack is occurring has been useless. In fact, correlating
geographic information with the sources of botnet activity has even led to
many false conclusions about who is attacking whom. Countless hours
have been spent by security teams poring through botnet information
trying to determine the source, and the best one can hope for might be
information about controllers or software drops. In the end, current
correlation approaches fall short.
What is needed to improve present correlation capabilities for
national infrastructure protection involves multiple steps.
Three Steps to Improve Current CorrelationCapabilities
1. The actual computer science around correlation algorithms needs to
be better investigated. Little attention has been placed in academic
computer science and applied mathematics departments to
multifactor correlation of real-time security data. This could be
changed with appropriate funding and grant emphasis from the
2. The ability to identify reliable data feeds needs to be greatly
improved. Too much attention has been placed on ad hoc
collection of volunteered feeds, and this complicates the ability for
analysis to perform meaningful correlation.
3. The design and operation of a national-level fusion center must be
given serious consideration. Some means must be identified for
putting aside political and funding problems in order to accomplish
this important objective.
The principle of awareness involves an organization understanding the
differences, in real time and at all times, between observed and normal
status in national infrastructure. This status can include risks,
vulnerabilities, and behavior in the target infrastructure. Behavior refers
here to the mix of user activity, system processing, network traffic, and
computing volumes in the software, computers, and systems that comprise
infrastructure. The implication is that the organization can somehow
characterize a given situation as being either normal or abnormal.
Furthermore, the organization must have the ability to detect and measure
differences between these two behavioral states. Correlation analysis is
usually inherent in such determinations, but the real challenge is less the
algorithms and more the processes that must be in place to ensure
situational awareness every hour of every day. For example, if a new
vulnerability arises that has impact on the local infrastructure, then this
knowledge must be obtained and factored into management decisions
Awareness builds on collection and correlation, but is not limited to those
areas alone.
Managers of national infrastructure generally do not have to be
convinced that situational awareness is important. The big issue instead is
how to achieve this goal. In practice, real-time awareness requires
attentiveness and vigilance rarely found in normal computer security. Data
must first be collected and enabled to flow into a fusion center at all times
so correlation can take place. The results of the correlation must be used to
establish a profiled baseline of behavior so differences can be measured.
This sounds easier than it is, because so many odd situations have the
ability to mimic normal behavior (when it is really a problem) or a
problem (when it really is nothing). Nevertheless, national infrastructure
protection demands that managers of assets create a locally relevant means
for being able to comment accurately on the state of security at all times.
This allows for proper management decisions about security (see Figure
Figure 1.11 Real-time situation awareness process flow.
Interestingly, situational awareness has not been considered a major
component of the computer security equation to date. The concept plays no
substantive role in small-scale security, such as in a home network,
because when the computing base to be protected is simple enough,
characterizing real-time situational status is just not necessary. Similarly,
when a security manager puts in place security controls for a small
enterprise, situational awareness is not the highest priority. Generally, the
closest one might expect to some degree of real-time awareness for a small
system might be an occasional review of system log files. So, the transition
from small-scale to large-scale infrastructure protection does require a new
attentiveness to situational awareness that is not well developed. It is also
worth noting that the general notion of “user awareness” of security is also
not the principle specified here. While it is helpful for end users to have
knowledge of security, any professionally designed program of national
infrastructure security must presume that a high percentage of end users
will always make the wrong sorts of security decisions if allowed. The
implication is that national infrastructure protection must never rely on the
decision-making of end users through programs of awareness.
Large-scale infrastructure protection requires a higher level of awareness
than most groups currently employ.
A further advance that is necessary for situational awareness involves
enhancements in approaches to security metrics reporting. Where the noncyber national intelligence community has done a great job developing
means for delivering daily intelligence briefs to senior government
officials, the cyber security community has rarely considered this
approach. The reality is that, for situation awareness to become a structural
component of national infrastructure protection, valid metrics must be
developed to accurately portray status, and these must be codified into a
suitable type of regular intelligence report that senior officials can use to
determine security status. It would not be unreasonable to expect this cyber
security intelligence to flow from a central point such as a fusion center,
but in general this is not a requirement.
The principle of response involves assurance that processes are in place to
react to any security-related indicator that becomes available. These
indicators should flow into the response process primarily from the
situational awareness layer. National infrastructure response should
emphasize indicators rather than incidents. In most current computer
security applications, the response team waits for serious problems to
occur, usually including complaints from users, applications running
poorly, and networks operating in a sluggish manner. Once this occurs, the
response team springs into action, even though by this time the security
game has already been lost. For essential national infrastructure services,
the idea of waiting for the service to degrade before responding does not
make logical sense.
An additional response-related change for national infrastructure
protection is that the maligned concept of “false positive” must be
reconsidered. In current small-scale environments, a major goal of the
computer security team is to minimize the number of response cases that
are initiated only to find that nothing was wrong after all. This is an easy
goal to reach by simply waiting for disasters to be confirmed beyond a
shadow of a doubt before response is initiated. For national infrastructure,
however, this is obviously unacceptable. Instead, response must follow
indicators, and the concept of minimizing false positives must not be part
of the approach. The only quantitative metric that must be minimized in
national-level response is risk (see Figure 1.12).
Figure 1.12 National infrastructure security response approach.
A challenge that must be considered in establishing response
functions for national asset protection is that relevant indicators often arise
long before any harmful effects are seen. This suggests that infrastructure
protecting must have accurate situational awareness that considers much
more than just visible impacts such as users having trouble, networks
being down, or services being unavailable. Instead, often subtle indicators
must be analyzed carefully, which is where the challenges arise with false
positives. When response teams agree to consider such indicators, it
becomes more likely that such indicators are benign. A great secret to
proper incident response for national infrastructure is that higher false
positive rates might actually be a good sign.
A higher rate of false positives must be tolerated for national infrastructure
It is worth noting that the principles of collection, correlation,
awareness, and response are all consistent with the implementation of a
national fusion center. Clearly, response activities are often dependent on a
real-time, ubiquitous operations center to coordinate activities, contact key
individuals, collect data as it becomes available, and document progress in
the response activities. As such, it should not be unexpected that nationallevel response for cyber security should include some sort of centralized
national center. The creation of such a facility should be the centerpiece of
any national infrastructure protection program and should involve the
active participation of all organizations with responsibility for national
Implementing the Principles Nationally
To effectively apply this full set of security principles in practice for
national infrastructure protection, several practical implementation
considerations emerge:
• Commissions and groups—Numerous commissions and groups
have been created over the years with the purpose of national
infrastructure protection. Most have had some minor positive
impact on infrastructure security, but none has had sufficient
impact to reduce present national risk to acceptable levels. An
observation here is that many of these commissions and groups
have become the end rather than the means toward a cyber security
solution. When this occurs, their likelihood of success diminishes
considerably. Future commissions and groups should take this into
• Information sharing—Too much attention is placed on information
sharing between government and industry, perhaps because
information sharing would seem on the surface to carry much
benefit to both parties. The advice here is that a comprehensive
information sharing program is not easy to implement simply
because organizations prefer to maintain a low profile when
fighting a vulnerability or attack. In addition, the presumption that
some organization—government or commercial—might have some
nugget of information that could solve a cyber attack or reduce risk
is not generally consistent with practice. Thus, the motivation for a
commercial entity to share vulnerability or incident-related
information with the government is low; very little value generally
comes from such sharing.

International cooperation—National initiatives focused on
creating government cyber security legislation must acknowledge
that the Internet is global, as are the shared services such as the
domain name system (DNS) that all national and global assets are
so dependent upon. Thus, any program of national infrastructure
protection must include provisions for international cooperation,
and such cooperation implies agreements between participants that
will be followed as long as everyone perceives benefit.
• Technical and operational costs—To implement the principles
described above, considerable technical and operational costs will
need to be covered across government and commercial
environments. While it is tempting to presume that the purveyors
of national infrastructure can simply absorb these costs into normal
business budgets, this has not been the case in the past. Instead, the
emphasis should be on rewards and incentives for organizations
that make the decision to implement these principles. This point is
critical because it suggests that the best possible use of government
funds might be as straightforward as helping to directly fund
initiatives that will help to secure national assets.
The bulk of our discussion in the ensuing chapters is technical in
nature; that is, programmatic and political issues are conveniently ignored.
This does not diminish their importance, but rather is driven by our
decision to separate our concerns and focus in this book on the details of
“what” must be done, rather than “how.”
Finally, let’s look at how the ever-changing policy of the United
States helps prevent or minimize disruptions to the critical national
infrastructure. The implementation of the policy is crucial in order to
protect the public, the economy, government services, and the national
security of the United States.
Infrastructure Against Cyber Attacks
Information technology has grown to provide both government and the
private sector with an efficient and timely means of delivering essential
services around the world. As a result, these critical systems remain at risk
from potential attacks via the Internet. It is the policy of the United States
to prevent or minimize disruptions to the critical information infrastructure
in order to protect the public, the economy, government services, and the
national security of the United States.
The federal government is continually increasing capabilities to
address cyber risk associated with critical networks and information
systems. On January 8, 2008, President Bush approved the National
Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential
Directive 23, which formalized a series of continuous efforts designed to
further safeguard federal government systems and reduce potential
vulnerabilities, protect against intrusion attempts, and better anticipate
future threats.
While efforts to protect the federal network systems from cyber
attacks remain a collaborative, government-wide effort, the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) has the lead responsibility for ensuring the
security, resiliency, and reliability of the nation’s information technology
(IT) and communications infrastructure (see “An Agenda for Action in
Preventing Cyber Attacks Methods” below).
An Agenda for Action in Preventing Cyber Attacks Methods
When completing the Preventing Cyber Attacks Methods checklist, the
DHS specialist should adhere to the provisional list of actions for some of
the principal cyber attack prevention methods. The order is not significant;
however, these are the activities for which the research would want to
provide a detailed description of procedures, review, and assessment for
ease of use and admissibility. Current measures that must be adhered to in
order to prevent future attacks and intrusion attempts, include (check all
tasks completed):
1. Hiring additional personnel to support the U.S. Computer
Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), DHS’ 24×7 watch and
warning center for the federal government’s Internet infrastructure.
US-CERT, a public–private partnership, operates round the clock
to help government and industry analyze and respond to cyber
threats and vulnerabilities.
2. Expanding the Einstein Cyber Shield to all federal departments and
agencies. This will provide government officials with an early
warning system to gain better situational awareness, earlier
identification of malicious activity, and a more comprehensive
network defense. The current version of the program is widely seen
as providing meager protection against attack, but a new version
being built will be more robust—largely because it is rooted in
NSA technology. The program is designed to look for indicators of
cyber attacks by digging into all Internet communications,
including the contents of e-mails, according to a declassified
3. Consolidating the number of external connections including
Internet points of presence for the federal government Internet
infrastructure (FGII), as part of the Office of Management and
Budget’s (OMB’s) Trusted Internet Connections Initiative (TICI).
TICI will more efficiently manage and implement security
measures to help bring more comprehensive protection across the
federal .gov domains.
4. Creating a National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) to further
progress in addressing cyber threats and increasing cyber security
efforts. The NCSC will bring together federal cyber security
organizations by virtually connecting and, in some cases,
physically collocating personnel and resources to gain a clearer
understanding of the overall cyber security picture of federal
5. Expanding the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force
(NCIJTF) to include representation from the U.S. Secret Service
and several other federal agencies. This existing cyber
investigation coordination organization overseen by the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will serve as a multiagency national
focal point for coordinating, integrating, and sharing pertinent
information related to cyber threat investigations.
6. Reducing the potential for adversaries to manipulate IT and
communications products before they are imported into the United
States. In other words, the DHS specialist must work toward a
stronger supply chain defense. To address this challenge, the
federal government is exploring protections into the federal
acquisition process and developing a multifaceted strategy to
reduce risk at the most appropriate stage of the IT and
communications product lifecycle.
7. Facilitating coordination and information sharing between the
federal government and private sector to reduce cyber risk,
disseminate threat information, share best practices, and apply
appropriate protective actions as outlined within the National
Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) framework. For example,
DHS created the Control Systems Vulnerability Assessment Tool
(CSVAT) to help all critical infrastructure sectors assess certain
policies, plans, and procedures currently in place to reduce cyber
vulnerabilities and leverage recognized standards.
8. Leading the nation’s largest cyber security exercise, known as
Cyber Storm III, in the fall of 2010, bringing together participants
from federal, state, and local governments; the private sector; and
the international community in order to examine and strengthen the
nation’s cyber security preparedness and response capabilities in
response to a simulated cyber attack across several critical sectors
of this nation’s economy. Cyber Storm III was built upon the
success of previous exercises; however, enhancements in the
nation’s cyber security capabilities, an ever-evolving cyber threat
landscape and the increased emphasis and extent of public–private
collaboration and cooperation made Cyber Storm III unique. Cyber
Storm III was the primary vehicle to exercise the newly developed
National Cyber Incident Response Plan (NCIRP)—a blueprint for
cyber security incident response—to examine the roles,
responsibilities, authorities, and other key elements of the nation’s
cyber incident response and management capabilities and use those
findings to refine the plan. Cyber Storm III (and the upcoming
Cyber Storm IV in 2012) and other exercises help ensure that
public and private sectors are prepared for an effective response to
attacks against this nation’s critical systems and networks.
9. Partnering with academia and industry to expand cyber education
for all U.S. government employees, particularly those who
specialize in IT, and enhance worksite development and
recruitment strategies to ensure a knowledgeable workforce
capable of dealing with the evolving nature of cyber threats.
10. Increasing funding for IT security through the president’s FY
2012 budget for protection efforts against cyber attacks efforts
across the federal government and the private sector.
This chapter discussed how pervasive and sustained cyber attacks continue
to pose a potentially devastating threat to the systems and operations of the
critical national infrastructure of the United States. According to recent
testimony by the Director of National Intelligence, “there has been a
dramatic increase in malicious cyber activity targeting U.S. computers and
networks.” In addition, recent reports of cyber attacks and incidents
affecting critical infrastructures illustrate the potential impact of such
events on national and economic security. The nation’s ever-increasing
dependence on information systems to carry out essential day-to-day
operations makes it vulnerable to an array of cyber-based risks. Thus, it is
increasingly important that federal and nonfederal entities carry out
concerted efforts to safeguard their systems and the information they
contain by looking at:
• Cyber threats to cyber-reliant critical national infrastructures.
• The continuing challenges facing federal agencies in protecting the
nation’s cyber-reliant critical national infrastructure.
Cyber-based threats to the critical national infrastructure are evolving
and growing. These threats can come from a variety of sources, including
criminals and foreign nations, as well as hackers and disgruntled
employees. These potential cyber attackers have a variety of techniques at
their disposal that can vastly expand the reach and impact of their actions.
In addition, the interconnectivity between information systems, the
Internet, and other infrastructure presents increasing opportunities for such
cyber attacks. Consistent with this, reports of security incidents from
federal agencies are on the rise according to the Government Accounting
Office (GAO), increasing over 760% over the past 6 years. In addition,
reports of cyber attacks and information security incidents, affecting
federal systems and systems supporting the critical national infrastructure,
illustrate the serious impact such incidents can have on national and
economic security, including the loss of classified information and
intellectual property worth billions of dollars. The Obama administration
and executive branch agencies continue to act to better protect the cyberreliant critical national infrastructures, improve the security of federal
systems, and strengthen the nation’s cyber security posture, but they are
still falling short of their goals. In other words, they have not yet fully
implemented key actions that are intended to address threats and improve
the current U.S. approach to cyber security, such as:
• Implementing near- and midterm actions recommended by the
cyber security policy review directed by the president.
• Updating the national strategy for securing the information and
communications infrastructure.

Developing a comprehensive national strategy for addressing
global cyber security and governance.

Creating a prioritized national and federal research and
development agenda for improving cyber security.
Federal systems continue to be afflicted by persistent information
security control weaknesses. For example, as part of its audit of the fiscal
year 2010 financial statements for the U.S. government, the GAO
determined that serious and widespread information security control
deficiencies were a government-wide material weakness. Over the past
several years, GAO and agency inspectors general have made thousands of
recommendations to agencies for actions necessary to resolve prior
significant control deficiencies and information security program
shortfalls. The White House, the Office of Management and Budget, and
selected federal agencies have undertaken additional government-wide
initiatives intended to enhance information security at federal agencies.
However, these initiatives face challenges, such as better defining agency
roles and responsibilities, establishing measures of effectiveness, and the
requirement of sustained attention, which government agencies have
begun to provide. As such, the GAO continues to identify the federal
government’s information systems and the nation’s cyber critical national
infrastructure as a government-wide high-risk area.
Finally, let’s move on to the real interactive part of this chapter:
review questions/exercises, hands-on projects, case projects, and optional
team case project. The answers and/or solutions by chapter can be found
Chapter Review Questions/Exercises
1. True or False? National infrastructure refers to the complex,
underlying delivery and support systems for all large-scale services
considered absolutely essential to a nation.
2. True or False? Vulnerabilities are more difficult to associate with
any taxonomy.
3. True or False? Perhaps the most insidious type of attack that exists
today is the botnet.
4. True or False? The principle of deception involves the deliberate
introduction of misleading functionality or misinformation into
national infrastructure for the purpose of tricking an adversary.
5. True or False? The principle of separation involves enforcement of
access policy restrictions on the users and resources in a computing
Multiple Choice
1. The best one can do for a comprehensive view of the
vulnerabilities associated with national infrastructure is to address
their relative exploitation points. This can be done with an abstract
national infrastructure cyber security model that includes three
types of malicious adversaries, except which two:
A. External adversary
B. Remote adversary
C. Internal adversary
D. System adversary
E. Supplier adversary
2. By using the abstract national infrastructure cyber security model,
three exploitation points emerge for national infrastructure, except
which two:
A. Defined methodology
B. Remote access
C. Breach of contract
D. System administration and normal usage
E. Supply chain
3. The selection and use of technology and systems that are
intentionally different in substantive ways is called the principle of:
A. Consistency
B. Depth
C. Discretion
D. Collection
E. Diversity
4. The automated gathering of system-related information about
national infrastructure to enable security analysis is called the
principle of:
A. Correlation
B. Awareness
C. Response
D. Collection
E. Recovery
5. To effectively apply the full set of security principles in practice
for national infrastructure protection, several practical
implementation considerations emerge, except which one:
A. Commissions and groups
B. Information sharing
C. International cooperation
D. Technical and operational costs
E. Current correlation capabilities
A disgruntled former hospital employee with exceptional computer skills
hacks into the hospital network from their home computer and plants a
very aggressive computer virus into a Computer-Aided Facility
Management (CAFM) system. The computer virus activates at 1:00 a.m.,
shutting down the Hospital Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) system,
security system, building automation, and patient medical monitoring
system. Please explain how the hospital’s cyber security team (CST) went
about resolving the problem.
Hands-On Projects
Trojan Horse e-mails sent from an intruder were targeted at specific
organizations and people. The Trojan Horse e-mails, when opened,
compromised the system and enabled the cyber attackers to infiltrate the
internal networked systems. The cyber attackers then searched the systems
and network for data files and exfiltrated information through the
encrypted channels. On opening the document, a real document would
display, while hidden activities are executed in the background. The
possibility of applications crashing is extremely high. The following is an
• A reverse shell leveraging port 443 (secure sockets layer [SSL])
downloaded a command and control tools from a dynamic domain.
Traffic was not SSL encrypted, but was obfuscated. Obfuscated
code is source or machine code that has been made difficult to
understand. Programmers may deliberately obfuscate code to
conceal its purpose (security through obscurity) or its logic to
prevent tampering or deter reverse engineering, or as a puzzle or
recreational challenge for someone reading the source code.
• The intruder then gained access and conducted network scanning,
data collection, and data exfiltration (military jargon for the
removal of personnel or units from areas under enemy control by
stealth, deception, surprise, or clandestine means, the opposite of
So, how would your cyber security team go about identifying the
intruder, the collection of tools used by the intruder, and recovering from
the attack?
Case Projects
Let’s look at a real-world scenario and how the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) plays into it. In the scenario, the United States will be hit
by a large-scale, coordinated cyber attack organized by China. These
attacks debilitate the functioning of government agencies, parts of the
critical infrastructure, and commercial ventures. The IT infrastructure of
several agencies are paralyzed, the electric grid in most of the country is
shut down, telephone traffic is seriously limited and satellite
communications are down (limiting the Department of Defense’s [DOD’s]
ability to communicate with commands overseas). International commerce
and financial institutions are also severely hit. Please explain how DHS
should handle this situation.
Optional Team Case Project
A cadre of intruders leveraged their collective capabilities to mount a
simulated coordinated cyber attack on a global scale. Although primary
motives differed among the entities, a sophisticated network of
relationships enabled the intruder to degrade Internet connectivity, disrupt
industrial functions, and ultimately erode confidence in everyday
communications. The intruder cultivated relationships with unaffiliated
opportunistic intruders. Due to their critical nature and perceived
vulnerabilities, the intruders specifically targeted several critical
infrastructure sectors, along with state and federal agencies, the media, and
foreign nations. Please identify the findings that were observed by the
participants and observer/controllers through the implementation of this
E.W. Dijkstra, Selected Writings on Computing: A Personal Perspective, SpringerVerlag, New York, 1982, pp. 212–213.
2 T. Friedman, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, Farrar,
Straus, and Giroux, New York, 2007. (Friedman provides a useful economic backdrop to the
global aspect of the cyber attack trends suggested in this chapter.)
3 Executive Office of the President, Cyberspace Policy Review: Assuring a Trusted and
Resilient Information and Communicat…

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