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National Institute of Standards and Technology, Recommended Security Controls for Federal Information Systems (NIST Special Publication 800-53) (Rev. 3) (Aug. 2009) (full-text); Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations (Rev. 4) (Apr. 2013) (full-text).
This publication was developed in support of the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA). It provides a catalog of security and privacy controls for federal information systems and organizations and a process for selecting controls to protect organizational operations (including mission, functions, image, and reputation), organizational assets, individuals, other organizations, and the United States from a diverse set of threats including hostile cyber attacks, natural disasters, structural failures, and human errors (both intentional and unintentional).
The security and privacy controls are customizable and implemented as part of an organization-wide process that manages information security and privacy risk. The controls address a diverse set of security and privacy requirements across the federal government and critical infrastructure, derived from legislation, Executive Orders, policies, directives, regulations, standards, and/or mission/business needs.
The publication also describes how to develop specialized sets of controls, or overlays, tailored for specific types of missions/business functions, technologies, or environments of operation. Finally, the catalog of security controls addresses security from both a functionality perspective (the strength of security functions and mechanisms provided) and an assurance perspective (the measures of confidence in the implemented security capability). Addressing both security functionality and assurance helps to ensure that information technology component products and the information systems built from those products using sound system and security engineering principles are sufficiently trustworthy.
Changes made in Revision 4 Edit
Revision 4 represents the culmination of a two-year initiative to update the guidance for the selection and specification of security controls for federal information systems and organizations. The changes included in Revision 4 support the federal information security strategy of "Build It Right, Then Continuously Monitor" and are directly linked to the current threat space (i.e., capabilities, intentions, and targeting of adversaries) as well as the attack data collected and analyzed over a substantial period of time. In this revision, there is renewed emphasis on security controls that can be implemented to increase the reliability, trustworthiness, and resiliency of information systems, system components, and information system services — especially in those systems, components, and services supporting critical organizational missions and business operations (including, for example, critical infrastructure applications). In particular, the major changes in Revision 4 include:
- New security controls and control enhancements addressing the advanced persistent threat (APT), supply chain, insider threat, application security, distributed systems, mobile and cloud computing, and developmental and operational assurance;
- Clarification of security control language;
- New tailoring guidance including the fundamental assumptions used to develop the security control baselines;
- Significant expansion of supplemental guidance for security controls and enhancements;
- Streamlined tailoring guidance to facilitate customization of baseline security controls;
- New privacy controls and implementation guidance based on the internationally recognized Fair Information Practice Principles;
- Updated security control baselines;
- New summary tables for security controls and naming convention for control enhancements to facilitate ease-of-use;
- New mapping tables for ISO/IEC 15408 (Common Criteria);
- The concept of overlays, allowing organizations and communities of interest to develop specialized security plans that reflect specific missions/business functions, environments of operation, and information technologies; and
- Designation of assurance-related controls for low-impact, moderate-impact, and high-impact information systems and additional controls for responding to high assurance requirements.