[ISN] ITL Bulletin for April 2009

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Fri, 1 May 2009 04:39:31 -0500 (CDT)
Fowarded from: Elizabeth Lennon <elizabeth.lennon (at) nist.gov>



Shirley Radack, Editor
Computer Security Division
Information Technology Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology
U.S. Department of Commerce

The most effective way to protect information and information systems is 
to integrate security into every step of the system development process, 
from the initiation of a project to develop a system to its disposition. 
The multistep process that starts with the initiation, analysis, design, 
and implementation, and continues through the maintenance and disposal 
of the system, is called the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

The Information Technology Laboratory of the National Institute of 
Standards and Technology (NIST) recently updated its general guide that 
helps organizations plan for and implement security throughout the SDLC. 
The revised guide provides basic information about the comprehensive 
approach that NIST has developed for managing risks to systems and for 
providing the appropriate levels of information security based on the 
levels of risk. Federal agencies are directed to incorporate security 
controls and services into the SDLC under the Federal Information 
Security Management Act (FISMA) and Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) Circular A-130, Appendix III.

NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-64, Revision 2, Security 
Considerations in the System Development Life Cycle

Revision 2 of NIST SP 800-64, Security Considerations in the System 
Development Life Cycle, was developed by Richard Kissel, Kevin Stine, 
and Matthew Scholl of NIST, with the expert assistance of Hart Rossman, 
Jim Fahlsing, and Jessica Gulick, of Science Applications International 
Corporation (SAIC). In addition, many individuals in the public and 
private sectors contributed to the revision by reviewing it and 
providing constructive comments.

The guide focuses on the information security components of the SDLC. 
One section summarizes the relationships between the SDLC and other 
information technology (IT) disciplines. Topics discussed include the 
steps that are prescribed in the SDLC approach, and the key security 
roles and responsibilities of staff members who carry out information 
system development projects.

NIST SP 800-64 helps organizations integrate specific security steps 
into a linear and sequential SDLC process. The five-phase method of 
development that is described in the guide is also known as the 
waterfall method, and is one process for system development. Other 
methodologies can be used as well. Detailed charts and tables in the 
guide present specific activities for each step of the SDLC, and the 
security activities associated with each step.

Another section of NIST SP 800-64 provides insight into IT projects and 
initiatives that are not as clearly defined as SDLC-based developments. 
Projects such as service-oriented architectures, cross-organization 
projects, and IT facility developments often require a somewhat 
different approach to security integration than the traditional system 
development efforts.

The guide includes detailed supplemental information in seven 
appendices. Appendix A provides a glossary of terms used in the guide. 
Appendix B presents a comprehensive list of acronyms. Appendix C lists 
references cited in the publication. Appendix D matches the 
security-related steps in each phase of the SDLC to the relevant NIST 
publications that provide guidance for the security activities. Appendix 
E gives an overview of other SDLC methodologies. Appendix F discusses 
additional planning considerations for the development and acquisition 
phase of the SDLC. Appendix G provides a view of the security 
considerations in the SDLC in a graph format.

The System Development Life Cycle

The system development life cycle is the overall process of developing, 
implementing, and retiring information systems through a multistep 
process from initiation, analysis, design, implementation, and 
maintenance to disposal. There are many different SDLC models and 
methodologies, but each generally consists of a series of defined steps 
or phases. For any SDLC model that is used, information security must be 
integrated into the SDLC to ensure appropriate protection for the 
information that the system will transmit, process, and store.

Applying the risk management process to system development enables 
organizations to balance requirements for the protection of agency 
information and assets with the cost of security controls and mitigation 
strategies throughout the SDLC. Risk management processes identify 
critical assets and operations, as well as systemic vulnerabilities 
across the organization. Risks are often shared throughout the 
organization and are not specific to certain system architectures.

Some of the benefits of integrating security into the system development 
life cycle include:

* Early identification and mitigation of security vulnerabilities and 
  problems with the configuration of systems, resulting in lower costs 
  to implement security controls and mitigation of vulnerabilities;

* Awareness of potential engineering challenges caused by mandatory 
  security controls;

* Identification of shared security services and reuse of security 
  strategies and tools that will reduce development costs and improve 
  the system ’s security posture through the application of proven 
  methods and techniques;

* Facilitation of informed executive decision making through the 
  application of a comprehensive risk management process in a timely 

* Documentation of important security decisions made during the 
  development process to inform management about security considerations 
  during all phases of development;

* Improved organization and customer confidence to facilitate adoption 
  and use of systems, and improved confidence in the continued 
  investment in government systems; and

* Improved systems interoperability and integration that would be 
  difficult to achieve if security is considered separately at various 
  system levels.

Initiation Phase. During the initiation phase, the organization 
establishes the need for a system and documents its purpose. Security 
planning should begin in the initiation phase with the identification of 
key security roles to be carried out in the development of the system. 
The information to be processed, transmitted, or stored is evaluated for 
security requirements, and all stakeholders should have a common 
understanding of the security considerations. The Information System 
Security Officer (ISSO) should be identified as well.

Security considerations are key to the early integration of security, 
and to the assurance that threats, requirements, and potential 
constraints in functionality and integration are considered. 
Requirements for the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of 
information should be assessed at this stage. Federal agencies should 
apply the provisions of Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 
199, Standards for Security Categorization of Federal Information and 
Information Systems, and FIPS 200, Minimum Security Requirements for 
Federal Information and Information Systems. These standards require 
agencies to categorize their information systems as low-impact, 
moderate-impact, or high-impact for the security objectives of 
confidentiality, integrity, and availability and to select appropriate 
security controls. Any information privacy requirements should be 
determined as well.

Early planning and awareness will result in savings in costs and staff 
time through proper risk management planning. In this phase, the 
organization clearly defines its project goals and high-level 
information security requirements, as well as the enterprise security 
system architecture.

Devlopment/Acquisition Phase. During this phase, the system is designed, 
purchased, programmed, developed, or otherwise constructed. A key 
security activity in this phase is conducting a risk assessment and 
using the results to supplement the baseline security controls. In 
addition, the organization should analyze security requirements; perform 
functional and security testing; prepare initial documents for system 
certification and accreditation; and design the security architecture.

The risk assessment enables the organization to determine the risk to 
operations, assets, and individuals resulting from the operation of 
information systems, and the processing, storage, or transmission of 
information. After categorizing their systems in accordance with FIPS 
199 and 200, federal agencies should meet the minimum security 
requirements by selecting the appropriate security controls and 
assurance requirements that are described in NIST SP 800-53, Recommended 
Security Controls for Federal Information Systems.

Another essential element is the development of security plans, which 
establish the security requirements for the information system, describe 
security controls that have been selected, and present the rationale for 
security categorization, how controls are implemented, and how use of 
systems can be restricted in high-risk situations. Security plans 
document the decisions made in the selection of controls, and are 
approved by authorized officials.

The developmental testing of the technical and security features and 
functions of the system ensure that they perform as intended, prior to 
launching the implementation and integration phase.

Implementation Phase. In the implementation phase, the organization 
configures and enables system security features, tests the functionality 
of these features, installs or implements the system, and obtains a 
formal authorization to operate the system. Design reviews and system 
tests should be performed before placing the system into operation to 
ensure that it meets all required security specifications. In addition, 
if new controls are added to the application or the support system, 
additional acceptance tests of those new controls must be performed. 
This approach ensures that new controls meet security specifications and 
do not conflict with or invalidate existing controls. The results of the 
design reviews and system tests should be fully documented, updated as 
new reviews or tests are performed, and maintained in the organization’s 
official records.

Operations/Maintenance Phase. In this phase, systems and products are in 
place and operating, enhancements and/or modifications to the system are 
developed and tested, and hardware and software components are added or 
replaced. The organization should continuously monitor performance of 
the system to ensure that it is consistent with pre-established user and 
security requirements, and that needed system modifications are 

Configuration management (CM) and control activities should be conducted 
to document any proposed or actual changes in the security plan of the 
system. Information systems are in a constant state of evolution with 
upgrades to hardware, software, firmware, and possible modifications in 
the surrounding environment. Documenting information system changes and 
assessing the potential impact of these changes on the security of a 
system are essential activities to assure continuous monitoring, and 
prevent lapses in the system security accreditation.

Disposal Phase. In this phase, plans are developed for discarding system 
information, hardware, and software and making the transition to a new 
system. The information, hardware, and software may be moved to another 
system, archived, discarded, or destroyed. If performed improperly, the 
disposal phase can result in the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive 
data. When archiving information, organizations should consider the need 
for and the methods for future retrieval.

Usually, there is no definitive end to a system. Systems normally evolve 
or transition to the next generation because of changing requirements or 
improvements in technology. System security plans should continually 
evolve with the system. Much of the environmental, management, and 
operational information for the original system should still be relevant 
and useful when the organization develops the security plan for the 
follow-on system.

The disposal activities ensure the orderly termination of the system and 
preserve the vital information about the system so that some or all of 
the information may be reactivated in the future, if necessary. 
Particular emphasis is given to proper preservation of the data 
processed by the system so that the data is effectively migrated to 
another system or archived in accordance with applicable records 
management regulations and policies for potential future access. The 
removal of information from a storage medium, such as a hard disk or 
tape, should be done in accordance with the organization’s security 

Additional Security Considerations

Some IT development projects are service-based and may involve other 
organizations, such as public-private sector supply chain endeavors. 
Other projects are facility-oriented, such as the establishment of a 
data center or a hot site. Organizations developing projects such as 
these should follow the principles for integrating security into the 
SDLC, as they examine and address the additional security considerations 
involved in these projects.  See NIST SP 800-64 for more details.

More Information

NIST SP 800-64 is a reference document that should be used in 
conjunction with other NIST publications throughout the development of 
the system.

Publications developed by NIST help information management and 
information security personnel in planning and implementing a 
comprehensive approach to information security. The general security of 
information systems depends upon attention to basic issues such as 
security planning, certification and accreditation, risk management, 
categorization of systems, and use of security controls. Organizations 
can draw upon NIST standards and guidelines to carry out their SDLC 
activities, including the following:

Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2, Security 
Requirements for Cryptographic Modules.

FIPS 199, Standards for Security Categorization of Federal Information 
and Information Systems.

FIPS 200, Minimum Security Requirements for Federal Information and 
Information Systems.

NIST SP 800-18 Revision 1, Guide for Developing Security Plans for 
Information Technology Systems.

NIST SP 800-30, Risk Management Guide for Information Technology 
Systems. NIST SP 800-64 complements the Risk Management Framework 
discussed in NIST SP 800-30 by providing a sample roadmap for 
integrating security functionality and assurance into the SDLC. NIST SP 
800-64 also provides further detail on additional activities that are 
valuable for consideration in different system and agency settings.

NIST SP 800-33, Underlying Technical Models for Information Technology 

NIST SP 800-37, Guide for the Security Certification and Accreditation 
of Federal Information Systems. This publication is being revised.

NIST SP 800-39, Draft Managing Risk from Information Systems: An 
Organizational Perspective. This publication is being revised.

NIST SP 800-53, Recommended Security Controls for Federal Information 
Systems. This publication is being revised. Security architectures 
should implement the security control families that are outlined in NIST 
SP 800-53 and that protect the confidentiality, integrity, and 
availability of federal information and information systems.

NIST SP 800-53A, Guide for Assessing the Security Controls in Federal 
Information Systems.

NIST SP 800-60 Revision 1, Guide for Mapping Types of Information and 
Information Systems to Security Categories.

NIST SP 800-65, Integrating Security into the Capital Planning and 
Investment Control Process. The CPIC process is defined by OMB Circular 
A-130 as “a management process for ongoing identification, selection, 
control, and evaluation of investments in information resources. The 
process links budget formulation and execution, and is focused on agency 
missions and achieving specific program outcomes.” This publication 
described a seven-step methodology to help organizations integrate 
security into the CPIC process and to assure that capital planning and 
information security goals and objectives are met.

NIST SP 800-88, Guidelines for Media Sanitization.

NIST SP 800-95, Guide to Secure Web Services.

NIST Interagency Report (NISTIR) 7298, Glossary of Key Information 
Security Terms.

For information about NIST standards and guidelines that are listed 
above, as well as other security-related publications, see NIST’s Web 
page: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/index.html


Any mention of commercial products or reference to commercial 
organizations is for information only; it does not imply recommendation 
or endorsement by NIST nor does it imply that the products mentioned are 
necessarily the best available for the purpose.

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Received on Fri May 01 2009 - 02:39:31 PDT

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