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Topic: Assessing Information System Vulnerabilities and Risk

Project: Assessing Information System Vulnerabilities and Risk
Video Transcript:
[You are an Information Assurance Management Officer, IAMO, at an organization of your choosing. One morning, as you’re getting ready for work, you see an email from Karen, your manager. She asks you to come to her office as soon as you get in. When you arrive to your work, you head straight to Karen’s office. “Sorry for the impromptu meeting,” she says, “but we have a bit of an emergency. There’s been a security breach at the Office of Personnel Management.” We don’t know how this happened, but we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again, says Karen. You’ll be receiving an email with more information on the security breach. Use this info to assess the information system vulnerabilities of the Office of Personnel Management. At your desk, you open Karen’s email. She’s given you an OPM report from the Office of the Inspector General, or OIG. You have studied the OPM OIG report and found that the hackers were able to gain access through compromised credentials. The security breach could have been prevented, if the Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, had abided by previous auditing reports and security findings. In addition, access to the databases could have been prevented by implementing various encryption schemas and could have been identified after running regularly scheduled scans of the systems. Karen and the rest of the leadership team want you to compile your findings into a Security Assessment Report or SAR. You will also create a Risk Assessment Report, or RAR, in which you identify threats, vulnerabilities, risks, and likelihood of exploitation and suggested remediation]

Project Description:
The security posture of the information systems infrastructure of an organization should be regularly monitored and assessed (including software, hardware, firmware components, governance policies, and implementation of security controls). The monitoring and assessment of the infrastructure and its components, policies, and processes should also account for changes and new procurements that are sure to follow in order to stay in step with ever-changing information system technologies.
The data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is one of the largest in US government history. It provides a series of lessons learned for other organizations in industry and the public sector. Some critical security practices, such as lack of diligence to security controls and management of changes to the information systems infrastructure were cited as contributors to the massive data breach in the OPM Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) Final Audit Report, which can be found in open source searches. Some of the findings in the report include: weak authentication mechanisms; lack of a plan for life-cycle management of the information systems; lack of a configuration management and change management plan; lack of inventory of systems, servers, databases, and network devices; lack of mature vulnerability scanning tools; lack of valid authorizations for many systems, and lack of plans of action to remedy the findings of previous audits.
The breach ultimately resulted in removal of OPM’s top leadership. The impact of the breach on the livelihoods of millions of people is ongoing and may never be fully known. There is a critical need for security programs that can assess vulnerabilities and provide mitigations.
There are nine steps that will help you create the final deliverables. The deliverables for this project are as follows:
Security Assessment Report (SAR): This report should be 8 pages double-spaced Word document with citations in APA format. The page count does not include figures, diagrams, tables, or citations.

Risk Assessment Report (RAR): This report should be a 5 pages double-spaced Word document with citations in APA format. The page count does not include figures, diagrams, tables, or citations.
Step 1: Enterprise Network Diagram
Select a hospital or healthcare organization to research. You may choose an organization you are familiar with or can readily obtain information about. To maintain confidentiality, you do not need to mention the name of the organization. You may also choose a hypothetical/fictitious healthcare organization.
Others have researched several healthcare organizations, which have suffered major security breaches, extensively.
You will research and learn about types of networks and their secure constructs that may be used in organizations to accomplish the functions of the organization’s mission. You will propose a local area network (LAN) and a wide area network (WAN) for the organization, define the systems environment, and incorporate this information in a network diagram. Discuss the security benefits of your chosen network design.
Read about the following computing platforms available for networks and discuss how these platforms could be implemented in your organization. Include the rationale for all platforms you choose to include in your network design.
common computing platforms
cloud computing
distributed computing
centralized computing
secure programming fundamentals

Step 2: Enterprise Threats
Review the OIG report on the OPM breach that you were asked to research and read about at the beginning of the project. The OIG report included numerous security deficiencies that likely left OPM networks vulnerable to being breached. In addition to those external threats, the report also describes the ways OPM was vulnerable to insider threats. The information about the breach could be classified as threat intelligence. Define threat intelligence and explain what kind of threat intelligence is known about the OPM breach.
You just provided detailed background information on your organization. Next, you’ll describe threats to your organization’s system. Before you get started, you will need to research and read about the insider threats (also known as internal threats, threat that comes from within the organization, such as from an employee). As you’re reading, take note of which insider threats are a risk to your organization.
Now, differentiate between the external threats to the system and the insider threats. Identify where these threats can occur in the previously created diagrams. Relate the OPM threat intelligence to your organization. How likely is it that a similar attack will occur at your organization?

Step 3: Scanning the Network : (Labs are already done)
You will now investigate network traffic, and the security of the network and information system infrastructure overall. Past network data has been logged and stored, as collected by a network analyzer tool such as Wireshark.
You will perform a network analysis on the Wireshark files provided (the Lab is already done, seen Lab 3 Report document) and assess the network posture and any vulnerability or suspicious information you are able to obtain. Include this information in the SAR.
You will then return to the lab in order to identify any suspicious activities on the network, through port scanning and other techniques. You will revisit the lab and lab instructions in Step 7: Suspicious Activity.
In order to validate the assets and devices on the organization’s network, run scans using security and vulnerability assessment analysis tools such as MBSA, OpenVAS, Nmap, or Nessus depending on the operating systems of your organization’s networks (the Lab is already done, see Lab 2 Report document). Live network traffic can also be sampled and scanned using Wireshark on either the Linux or Windows systems. Wireshark allows you to inspect all OSI layers of traffic information. Further analyze the packet capture for network performance, behavior, and any suspicious source and destination addresses on the networks.
In the previously created Wireshark files, identify if any databases had been accessed. What are the IP addresses associated with that activity? Include this information in the SAR.
Step 4: Identifying Security Issues (Labs are already done)
You have a suite of security tools, techniques, and procedures that can be used to assess the security posture of your organization’s network in a SAR.
Now it’s time to identify the security issues in your organization’s networks. You have already used password cracking tools to crack weak and vulnerable passwords (the Lab is already done, see Lab 1 Report document). Provide an analysis of the strength of passwords used by the employees in your organization. Are weak passwords a security issue for your organization?
Step 5: Firewalls and Encryption
Next, examine online resources on firewalls and auditing–RDBMS related to the use of the Relational Database Management System (i.e., the database system and data) RDBMS. Also review online resources related to access control. 
Determine the role of firewalls and encryption, and auditing – RDBMS that could assist in protecting information and monitoring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information in the information systems.
Reflect any weaknesses found in the network and information system diagrams previously created, as well as in the developing SAR.
Step 6: Threat Identification
You know of the weaknesses in your organization’s network and information system. Now you will determine various known threats to the organization’s network architecture and IT assets.
Get acquainted with the following types of threats and attack techniques. Which are a risk to your organization?
IP address spoofing/cache poisoning attacks
denial of service attacks (DoS)
packet analysis/sniffing
session hijacking attacks
distributed denial of service attacks
In identifying the different threats, complete the following tasks:
Identify the potential hacking actors of these threat attacks on vulnerabilities in networks and information systems and the types of remediation and mitigation techniques available in your industry, and for your organization.
Identify the purpose and function of firewalls for organization network systems, and how they address the threats and vulnerabilities you have identified.
Also discuss the value of using access control, database transaction and firewall log files.
Identify the purpose and function of encryption, as it relates to files and databases and other information assets on the organization’s networks.
Include these in the SAR.
Step 7: Suspicious Activity(Labs are already done)
Hackers frequently scan the Internet for computers or networks to exploit. An effective firewall can prevent hackers from detecting the existence of networks. Hackers continue to scan ports, but if the hacker finds there is no response from the port and no connection, the hacker will move on. The firewall can block unwanted traffic and NMap can be used to self-scan to test the responsiveness of the organization’s network to would-be hackers.
Provide any information related to the issue that you are experiencing and attach any screenshot that you may be able to produce related to the issue (the Lab is already done, seen Lab 3 Report document).

Step 8: Risk and Remediation
What is the risk and what is the remediation? What is the security exploitation? You can use the OPM OIG Final Audit Report findings and recommendations as a possible source for methods to remediate vulnerabilities.
Read and get familiar with the risk assessment process, then prepare the risk assessment. Be sure to first list the threats, then the vulnerabilities, and then pairwise comparisons for each threat and vulnerability, and determine the likelihood of that event occurring, and the level of impact it would have on the organization. Use the OPM OIG Final Audit Report findings as a possible source for potential mitigations. Include this in the risk assessment report (RAR).
Step 9: Creating the SAR and RAR
Your research and Workspace exercise have led you to this moment: creating your SAR and RAR. Consider what you have learned in the previous steps as you create your reports for leadership.
Prepare a Security Assessment Report (SAR) with the following sections:
The final SAR does not have to stay within this framework, and can be designed to fulfill the goal of the security assessment.
Prepare a Risk Assessment Report (RAR) with information on the threats, vulnerabilities, likelihood of exploitation of security weaknesses, impact assessments for exploitation of security weaknesses, remediation, and cost/benefit analyses of remediation. Devise a high-level plan of action with interim milestones (POAM), in a system methodology, to remedy your findings. Include this high-level plan in the RAR. Summarize the results you obtained from the vulnerability assessment tools (i.e., MBSA and OpenVas) in your report.
The deliverables for this project are as follows:
Security Assessment Report (SAR): This should be an 8 pages double-spaced Word document with citations in APA format. The page count does not include figures, diagrams, tables, or citations.
Risk Assessment Report (RAR): This report should be a 5 pages double-spaced Word document with citations in APA format. The page count does not include figures, diagrams, tables, or citations.


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