Security tool free to feds

Federal CIS download site

All federal agencies can now freely distribute and use the security configuration tools developed by the independent Center for Internet Security (CIS) and endorsed by federal security experts.

The General Services Administration's Federal Computer Incident Response Center last week announced an agreement signed with CIS for redistribution licenses, paid for by a group of federal organizations, including FedCIRC, the National Security Agency and the Defense Department.

The software can be downloaded through a site set up specifically for federal users at www.cisecurity.org/federalcisusers.

The tools offer a high-level security benchmark for commonly used operating systems, applications and appliances, and organizations can use the tools to check configurations. The programs were developed in collaboration with the center's members, including experts from government, industry and academia, said CIS Chairman Franklin Reeder.

In July, the center and several federal agencies announced the release of the latest tool, a benchmark for Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 operating system. Tools are also available for other operating systems, including Windows NT, Linux and Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris, as well as Cisco Systems Inc.'s IOS routers.

The tools are available for free on the center's Web site, but agencies typically must sign up to be CIS members before they may redistribute the programs or use them on multiple systems. The FedCIRC agreement does not provide full membership privileges but does allow agency systems administrators to distribute the tools internally, according to a center official.

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