The Data Processing Security Game. Safeguarding Against the Real Dangers of Computer Abuse

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However, at the time of its release, the Secure Server had not been evaluated against the Orange Book criteria because the relevant criteria, contained in the Trusted Database Interpretation TDI , were still being reviewed. Although the TDI is expected to be released in late or early , it will be at least six months and probably nine months before any official opinion is rendered by NCSC.

In short, Sybase will be marketing a secure product that took five years to develop and the Air Force will be using that. Both the vendors and consumers have proceeded with some degree of risk. The federal government has tried to influence commercial-grade computer security through direct procurement, research support, and regulatory requirements placed on the handling of data in the private sector. That influence has been realized both directly through government actions e.

Procurement and strategic research programs are discussed briefly below. The U. Industry is skeptical of such promises, arguing that the government does not follow through in its procurement AFCEA, , even after sponsoring the development of special projects for military-critical technology.

However, one step the government has taken that has apparently stimulated the market is known as "C2 by ' This directive is widely believed to have stimulated the production of C2-level systems. However, its impact in the future is in question, given the divergence in programs for protecting classified and sensitive but unclassified information that has been reinforced by the Computer Security Act of and the revision of National Security Decision Directive see Chapter 7.

The Computer Security Act itself has the potential for increasing the demand for trusted systems, but the security assessment and planning process it triggered fell short of expectations GAO, c. Concern for security is not a consistent factor in government procurements. A small sample, compiled by the committee, of 30 recent. Access control features were required by 13 RFPs. Auditing features were required by six.

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The procurement process itself provides vehicles for weakening the demand for security. Vendors occasionally challenge through mechanisms for comment within the procurement process strong security requirements in RFPs, on the grounds that such requirements limit competition. Budgetary pressures may also contribute to weakening security requirements. Such pressures may, for example, result in the inclusion of security technology as a non-evaluated option, rather than as a requirement, leading to a vendor perception that the organization is only paying lip service to the need for security.

Interestingly, DOD itself is exploring novel ways to use the procurement process to stimulate the market beyond the Orange Book and military standards. The government, especially through DARPA funding, has contributed to computer technology through large-scale strategic research and development programs that supported the creation or enhancement of facilities such as the recently decommissioned Arpanet network. Each of these projects—which were sponsored by DARPA—has moved the market into areas that are beneficial to both government and commercial computer users.

The Arpanet and Multics experiences illustrate how very large scale, multifaceted, systems-oriented projects can catalyze substantial technological advances, expand the level of expertise in the research community, and spin off developments in a number of areas. Scale, complexity, and systems orientation are particularly important for progress in the computer and communications security arena, and the government is the largest supporter of these projects.

Historically, security has been a secondary concern in such projects, although it is gaining more attention now. The widespread impact of these projects suggests that similar initiatives emphasizing security could pay off handsomely. The LOCK program, for example, was designed to make full documentation and background material available to major vendors so that they might profit from the LOCK experience; similar benefits are expected from the TMACH development program. Five prospective vendors competed to develop designs; three went on to develop products.

The interval from contract award to commercial product was less than three years, although years of research and development were necessary beforehand. Moreover, in the DOD purchased several thousand STU-III terminals for use not only in DOD facilities but also for loan to qualified defense contractors; these firms will receive the majority of the purchased units. This program will help to overcome one obvious disincentive for commercial acquisition: to be of use, not only the party originating a call but also the receiver must have a STU-III.

For national security reasons, programs that are sponsored by NSA confine direct technology transfer to companies with U. While the United States has legitimate national interests in maintaining technological advantage, the increasingly international nature of the computer business makes it difficult to even identify what is a U. Another factor to consider in the realm of strategic research and development is the fact that, consistent with its primary mission, NSA's projects are relatively closed, whereas an agency like DARPA can more aggressively reach out to the computer science and technology community.

The proposed federal high-performance computing program OSTP, could provide a vehicle for strategic research investment in system security technology; indeed, security is cited as a consideration in developing the component National Research and Education Network—and security would clearly be important to the success of the network. However, funding uncertainty and delays associated with the high-performance computing program suggest both that security aspects could be compromised and that additional but more modest large-scale technology development projects that promote secure system development may be more feasible.

Certainly, they would have substantial benefits in terms of advancing and commercializing trust technology. Other government-backed research programs that focus on physical, natural, or biomedical sciences e. Vendors maintain that controls on exports inhibit the development of improved commercial computer and communications security products. Controls on the export of commercial computer security technology raise questions about the kind of technology transfer that should be controlled and why , whether security technologies aimed at the civilian market should be considered to have military relevance dual use , whether control should continue under the provisions aimed at.

An overview of the export control process is provided in Chapter Appendix 6. The challenge for policymakers is to balance national security and economic security interests in drawing the line between technology that should be controlled, because it compromises national security in this case by hampering intelligence gathering by government entities and technology that need not be, and allowing that line to move over time. The committee considered controls on the export of trusted systems and on the export of commercial-grade cryptographic products.

The current rules constraining the export of trusted and cryptographic systems were developed at a time when the U. As in other areas of technology, that position has changed, and it is time to review the nature of the controls and their application, to assure that whatever controls are in place balance all U. The emergence of foreign criteria and evaluation schemes see "Comparing National Criteria Sets" in Chapter 5 makes reconsideration of export controls on trusted systems especially timely.

Balancing the possible temporary military benefit against the long-run interests of both national security applications and commercial viability, the committee concludes that Orange Book ratings, per se, do not signify military-critical technology, even at the B3 and A1 levels.

Of course, specific implementations of B3 and A1 systems may involve technology e. NSA officials who briefed the committee offered support for that conclusion, which is also supported by the fact that the criteria for achieving Orange Book ratings are published information. The committee urges clarifying just what aspects of a trusted system are to be controlled, independent of Orange Book levels, and targeting more precisely the technology that it is essential to control.

Issues in both of these areas are discussed below. Currently, the military and intelligence communities provide the largest concentration of effort, expertise, and resources allocated to. Devoted to countering threats not likely to be experienced by industry, much of this effort and expertise gives rise to special, often classified, products that are not and should not be commercially available. However, a strong commercial security effort would make it possible for the defense sector to concentrate its development resources on military-critical technology.

Then the flow of technology for dual-use systems could be substantially reversed, thus lessening concerns about the export of vital military technology.

Exports of dual-use computer technologies are controlled largely for defensive reasons, since those technologies can be used against U. Computer security presents offensive and defensive concerns.


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Adversaries' uses of computer security technologies can hamper U. As a result, DOD seeks to review sophisticated new technologies and products, to prevent potential adversaries of the United States from acquiring new capabilities, whether or not the DOD itself intends to use them. Another concern is that international availability exposes the technology to broader scrutiny, especially by potential adversaries, and thus increases the possibility of compromise of safeguards. The need to minimize exposure of critical technology implies that certain military-critical computer security needs will continue to be met through separate rather than dual-use technology see Appendix E , "High-grade Threats".

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As noted in this report's "Overview" Chapter 1 , national security dictates that key insights not be shared openly, even though such secrecy may handicap the development process see "Programming Methodology,'' Chapter 4. To maintain superiority, the export of such technology will always be restricted. Thus the discussion in this chapter focuses on dual-use technology. Historically, because of the importance of encryption to intelligence operations and the importance of secrecy to maintaining the effectiveness of a given encryption scheme, cryptographic algorithms and their implementations could not be exported at all, even to other countries that participate in the Coordinating Committee on Multilateral Export Controls CoCom.

The restrictions were recently relaxed somewhat, allowing for export of confidentiality applications under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations ITAR; Office of. That is, DES may be used to compute integrity checks for information but may not be used to encrypt the information itself. Private vendor-specific algorithms are generally approved for export following review by NSA although that review may result in changes in the algorithm to permit export.

The Data Processing Security Game - 1st Edition

The Department of Commerce reviews export licenses for DES and other cryptographic products intended for authentication, access control, protection of proprietary software, and automatic teller devices. Because of current controls, computer-based products aimed at the commercial market that incorporate encryption capabilities for confidentiality can only be exported for limited specific uses.

Ironically, encryption may even be unavailable as a method to assure safe delivery of other controlled products, including security products. Affected products include Dbase-IV and other systems including PC-oriented systems with message and file security features. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the regulations may not be applied consistently, making it difficult to assess their impact. In some cases, the missing or disabled encryption function can be replaced overseas with a local product; indigenous DES implementations are available overseas. The local product may involve a different, locally developed algorithm.

It is not clear, however, that modular replacement of encryption units will always be possible. The movement from auxiliary black-box units to integral systems suggests that it will become less feasible, and there is some question about whether modular replacement violates the spirit if not the letter of existing controls, which may discourage some vendors from even attempting this option. Vendors are most troubled by the prospect that the growing integration of encryption into general-purpose computing technology threatens the large export market for computer technology at a time when some 50 percent or more of vendors' revenues may come from overseas.

Much of the debate that led to the relaxation of export restrictions for DES centered on the fact that the design of DES is widely known, having been widely published for many years.


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Similarly, the RSA public-key algorithm see "Selected Topics in Computer Security Technology," Appendix B is well known and is, in fact, not patented outside the United States—because the basic principles were first published in an academic journal Rivest et al.