CISA Publishes New Cybersecurity Incident and Vulnerability Response Manual

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a new Cybersecurity Incident and Vulnerability Response Manual on November 16, local time, completing a part of President Biden’s Cybersecurity Executive Order (EO). important task. This manual provides a set of standard procedures for Federal Civilian Executive Branch (FCEB) agencies to identify, coordinate, remediate, recover, and track successful mitigations for incidents and vulnerabilities affecting FCEB systems, data, and networks. Based on lessons learned from past events and incorporating industry best practices, CISA intends to make this playbook effective in enhancing the federal government’s network by standardizing shared practices, bringing together the best people and processes to drive coordinated action Security Response Practices.

The manual published by CISA is a combination of two parts: one on vulnerability response and the other on cybersecurity incident response. The manual includes decision trees for each type of scenario response and step-by-step mitigation and remediation guidance for each scenario. The manual establishes operating procedures for Federal Civilian Executive Branch (FCEB) agencies that experience a cybersecurity breach or incident. The 43-page document sets out a course of action for any response activity initiated by a federal agency or CISA and standardizes the practices that guide analysis and discovery, promotes better coordination among affected parties, and enables CISA to track successful Operates across organizations and allows event cataloging.

In a press release issued by the manual, CISA said FCEB agencies should use the manual to shape their overall defensive cyber operations. This manual applies to information systems used or operated by the FCEB agency, the agency’s contractors, or other organizations acting on the agency’s behalf.

The manual’s overview says that the cooperation of all federal government organizations has proven to be an effective model for addressing vulnerabilities and incidents. Based on lessons learned from past events and incorporating industry best practices, CISA intends to enable these playbooks to evolve the federal government’s cybersecurity response practices by standardizing shared practices that bring together the best people and processes to drive coordinated action.

Much of the new manual focuses on federal preparedness for future cyberattacks, which includes monitoring multiple sources of threat intelligence, including alerts from CISA’s EINSTEIN Intrusion Detection System and Continuous Diagnosis and Mitigation (CDM) programs .

This handbook should help strengthen the federal security posture should agencies encounter new vulnerabilities or cyber incidents. CISA also previously issued a Binding Operational Directive (BOD) containing classification and risk ranking vulnerabilities that need to be fixed by federal agencies. Combining the playbook and BOD allows you to fix currently known vulnerabilities and create an action plan for any future vulnerabilities.

Security Incident Response Process

The event response process begins with the declaration of an event, as shown in Figure 1 below. The process is divided into six stages, namely preparation, detection and analysis, containment, eradication and recovery, post-event activities, and coordination and linkage. In this context, a “statement” refers to the identification of an incident and communication to CISA and agency cyber defenders, rather than a formal statement of a material incident as defined in applicable law and policy. Subsequent sections are organized by phases of the IR lifecycle, describing each step in more detail. Many activities are iterative and may continue to occur and develop until the event ends. Figure 1 illustrates incident response activities in terms of these phases, while Appendix B provides an accompanying checklist to track activities until completion.

Figure 1 CISA’s security incident response process

Vulnerability Response Process

Standard vulnerability management procedures include four stages of identifying, analyzing, remediating, and reporting vulnerabilities. Figure 2 below depicts the vulnerability response process in terms of standard vulnerability management program phases.

Figure 2 CISA’s vulnerability response process

The manual contains six appendices, Appendix A: Key Terms, Appendix B: Incident Response Checklist, Appendix C: Incident Response Preparedness Checklist, Appendix E: Vulnerability and Incident Classification, Appendix F: Reporting Sources, Appendix G: Whole-of-Government Roles and Responsibilities , which provides a strong guarantee for the detailed implementation of the response process.

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