Tool personalizes security warnings

Purdue's Cassandra tool

The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced a service Tuesday

that will enable government and private-sector users to receive personalized

security vulnerability notices.

The new service, named Cassandra and developed by Purdue University's

Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security,

builds upon NIST's ICAT searchable vulnerability index. ICAT provides summaries

and links to open vulnerability databases available on the Internet.

Users can log on to the online Cassandra tool to create profiles, defining

what versions of software and systems exist on their networks. Those profiles

will be stored securely on Cassandra, and users will be alerted by e-mail

whenever the ICAT index adds a vulnerability description that fits a user's


However, because the ICAT index is based on other databases, it is not

updated immediately whenever a new vulnerability appears, said Peter Mell,

program manager for ICAT, speaking Tuesday at the FedCIRC Information Technology

Security Innovations conference in College Park, Md.

Therefore, Mell said systems administrators should use Cassandra as

a supplement to other notification services, such as the Federal Computer

Incident Response Capability and the National Infrastructure Protection


Another private-sector organization is working with NIST to develop

a similar tool, which should be available before the end of the month, Mell



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