Cybersecurity

NIST seeks input on security guide

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A new NIST publication will seek to improve communication between computer security response teams.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued a request for information for a new guide on how to respond more quickly to security breaches. The guide, "Computer Security Incident Coordination," is aimed at improving communication between response teams.

"Even though government and industry defend their information systems against hackers, attacks are sometimes successful," NIST officials said in a statement. "When that happens, speed is of the essence."

The new publication "will supply guidance, methodologies, procedures and processes to cut response time and limit information loss when multiple organizations are involved," they added.

Among other things, the guide seeks to answer the question of when someone should share potentially sensitive information in the course of dealing with security threats, said Lee Badger, a group manager at NIST. Although some highly sensitive information cannot be shared under any circumstances, he said officials still need to consider many variables before sharing less sensitive information.

"The question when you're trying to share helpful information with your peers is to understand levels of sensitivity, what kinds of information can be shared with a peer given how well you know them and how well you know that they will protect that information," Badger said. "And, of course, other levels of sensitivity may be too high, and you really can't share those. So there are lots of judgments that need to be made in order to share correctly."

Badger said he hopes the guide will help educate people about how to build circles of trust to ease that decision-making process and increase appropriate information sharing.

The new guide will complement NIST's "Computer Security Incident Handling Guide," which addresses how to detect attacks and mitigate damage. The RFI asks for input on communication barriers, incident coordination objectives and standards.

Comments should be emailed to incidentcoordination@nist.gov by July 29 and should include the sender's name, company name and a reference to "Computer Security Incident Coordination."

About the Author

Reid Davenport is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him on Twitter: @ReidDavenport.

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