When an intruder, worm, virus, or automated attack succeeds in targeting a computer system, having specific controls and a response plan in place can greatly lessen losses. Accordingly, businesses are realizing that it is unwise to invest resources in preventing computer-related security incidents without equal consideration of how to detect and respond to such attacks and breaches.
The Effective Incident Response Team is the first complete guide to forming and managing a Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT). In this book, system and network administrators and managers will find comprehensive information on establishing a CIRT's focus and scope, complete with organizational and workflow strategies for maximizing available technical resources. The text is also a valuable resource for working teams, thanks to its many examples of day-to-day team operations, communications, forms, and legal references.
IT administrators and managers must be prepared for attacks on any platform, exploiting any vulnerability, at any time. The Effective Incident Response Team will guide readers through the critical decisions involved in forming a CIRT and serve as a valuable resource as the team evolves to meet the demands of ever-changing vulnerabilities.
Inside, readers will find information on:
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1. Welcome to the Information Age.
A Brief History.
What Does This Mean to My Organization?
Examples of Incident Response Teams.
Focus and Scope.
Know Who You're Protecting: Defining Your Constituency.
Working with Law Enforcement.
Defining an Incident.
Tracking an Incident.
The Importance of Credibility.
What Is a Computer Incident?
Operational Versus Security Incidents.
Determining the Categories to Be Used.
An Incident Taxonomy.
Common Vulnerability and Exposure (CVE) Project.
Consequences of Computer Attacks.
Computer Intrusion, Unauthorized Access, or Compromise.
Port Scans or Probes.
The Human Factor.
TCP/IP Design Limitations.
The Computer Virus.
Important Steps to Remain Virus-Free.
Other Forms of Malicious Logic.
Virus Hoaxes and Urban Legends.
Putting the Team Together.
Determining the Best Coverage.
Promotions and Growth.
Computer security incidents and incident response are like fires and fire fighting.
Fires and computer security incidents can both be destructive and costly.
Small fires that are not effectively contained can turn into large fires that are more destructive and harder to control. Small computer security incidents that are not contained quickly or effectively can turn into large incidents that are more damaging and harder to contain.
Because fires and computer security incidents can be destructive and costly, we put effort into finding ways to prevent them in the first place. Think of the fire safety instruction that you probably received when you were in elementary school or when you read product usage warnings-don't play with matches, don't use candles near curtains, be careful with space heaters. Products such as children's sleepwear, consumer electronics, and construction materials are tested for fire safety.We develop (and enforce) building codes and other standards to help ensure that fires don't break out often.We do similar things to prevent computer security incidents.We create policies, develop procedures, conduct computer security awareness training, create checklists for locking down various sorts of computers and the services that run on them, install firewalls, use virtual private networks, and conduct audits.
Despite our best efforts at prevention, however, fires sometimes still break out.We have fire alarm systems to detect and warn us about these events so that we can respond to them quickly. Similarly, we design and deploy host- and network-based intrusion detection systems to detect attacks against our own computers and successful intrusions on the same.
Because fires are dangerous and we cannot completely prevent them, we devote significant resources to establishing community fire departments that respond to the fires that do occur. These groups develop procedures for effectively containing fires of various types and train people to implement those procedures in a variety of circumstances so that they can effectively handle the fires that crop up, which are unpredictable in time, type, and severity. Likewise, in the computer security world, we establish groups to handle the computer security incidents that slip past our defenses. These teams create procedures and undergo training so that they can effectively contain the incidents that crop up, which are unpredictable in the same ways that fires are.
It would be foolish to invest all of our resources in fire prevention to the exclusion of effective fire fighting or to invest in fire fighting without paying due attention to fire prevention. It is good to prevent fires, but we probably can't afford to do what would be needed to absolutely prevent them, so they will sometimes occur and we will need to respond. It would also be foolish to invest all of our "computer security" resources in incident prevention to the exclusion of effective incident response, or in incident response without attempting to prevent incidents in the first place.
These days, computer security incident response teams are involved in more than "traditional" computer intrusions. Because computers are ubiquitous in the business world, digital evidence is likely to come into play in many situations that are not directly related to computer security, such as investigations of employee misconduct, criminal activity, and research fraud. Incident response team members often become involved in computer-related investigations because they have a pool of expertise in discovering, preserving, and interpreting digital evidence. This possibility provides another good reason for forming (or improving) your incident response team.
This book focuses on forming teams to provide effective incident response. Julie and Brian approach the task as if it were a puzzle. They introduce and describe the pieces and then discuss how you put them together. Both authors have considerable experience in the computer security incident response field, and they know the questions that you will need to ask and answer as you design your own team and procedures.
Some groups may choose not to create a "formal" incident response team or may choose to outsource their incident response procedures.
Although the thrust of this book is on forming your own team, it nevertheless provides a helpful framework within which to evaluate and explore these alternatives.
Have fun assembling the puzzle!
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