Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


2 new SCAP documents help improve automating computer security management

It's increasingly difficult to keep up with all the vulnerabilities present in today's highly complex operating systems and applications. Attackers constantly search for and exploit these vulnerabilities to commit identity fraud, intellectual property theft and other attacks.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released two updated publications that help organizations to find and manage vulnerabilities more effectively, by standardizing the way vulnerabilities are identified, prioritized and reported.

Computer security departments work behind the scenes at government agencies and other organizations to keep computers and networks secure. A valuable tool for them is security automation software that uses NIST's Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP). Software based on SCAP can be used to automatically check individual computers to see if they have any known vulnerabilities and if they have the appropriate security configuration settings and patches in place. Security problems can be identified quickly and accurately, allowing them to be resolved before hackers can exploit them.

The first publication, The Technical Specifications for the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) Version 1.1 (NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-126 Revision 1) refines the protocol's requirements from the SCAP 1.0 version. SCAP itself is a suite of specifications for standardizing the format and nomenclature by which security software communicates to assess software flaws, security configurations and software inventories.

SP 800-126 Rev. 1 tightens the requirements of the individual specifications in the suite to support SCAP's functionality and ensure interoperability between SCAP tools. It also adds a new specification—the Open Checklist Interactive Language (OCIL)—that allows security experts to gather information that is not accessible by automated means. For example, OCIL could be used to ask users about their recent security awareness training or to prompt a system administrator to review security settings only available through a proprietary graphical user interface. Additionally, SCAP 1.1 calls for the use of the 5.8 version of the Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language (OVAL).

NIST and others provide publicly accessible repositories of security information and standard security configurations in SCAP formats, which can be downloaded and used by any tool that complies with the SCAP protocol. For example, the NIST-run National Vulnerability Database (NVD) provides a unique identifier for each reported software vulnerability, an analysis of its potential damage and a severity score. The NVD has grown from 6,000 listings in 2002 to about 46,000 in early 2011. It is updated daily.

The second document, Guide to Using Vulnerability Naming Schemes (Special Publication 800-51 Revision 1), provides recommendations for naming schemes used in SCAP. Before these schemes were standardized, different organizations referred to vulnerabilities in different ways, which created confusion. These naming schemes "enable better synthesis of information about software vulnerabilities and misconfigurations," explained co-author David Waltermire, which minimizes confusion and can lead to faster security fixes. The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) scheme identifies software flaws; the Common Configuration Enumeration (CCE) scheme classifies configuration issues.

SP 800-51 Rev.1 provides an introduction to both naming schemes and makes recommendations for using them. It also suggests how software and service vendors should use the vulnerability names and naming schemes in their products and service offerings.

These new publications can be downloaded from the NIST website. The Technical Specifications for the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) Version 1.1 (NIST Special Publication 800-126 Revision 1) can be found at The Guide to Using Vulnerability Naming Schemes (Special Publication 800-51 Revision 1) can be found at

Evelyn Brown | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Automation Language NVD Protocol Revision SCAP Security Forum Specifications Vulnerability

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>