diarmf risk management of information security

diacap to diarmf: manage information security risk

Risk Management Framework is implemented throughout an organization.

NIST 800-39, Manage Information Security Risk, describes how to implement risk within t three layers (or tiers) of of an organization:

Tier 1: Organization level
Tier 2: Mission/Business Process level
Tier 3: Information System level

diarmf risk management of information security

Tier 1: Organization Level risk management
Tier one addresses security from the organizations perspective. The activities include the implementation of the first component of risk management, risk framing. Risk framing provides context of all the risk activities within an organization, which affects the risk activities of tier 1 & 2. The output of risk framing is Risk Management Strategy. In tier 1 the organization establishes and implements governance structure that are in compliance with laws, regulations and policies. Tier 1 activities include establishment of the Risk Executive Function, establishment of the risk management strategy and determination of the risk tolerance.

Tier 2: Mission/Business Process Level risk management

Tier 2 risk management activities include: 1) defining the mission/business processes to support the organization. 2) Prioritize the mission/business process with respect to the long term goals of the organization. 3) Define the type of information needed to successfully execute the mission/business processes, criticality/sensitivity of the information and the information flows both internal and external of the information.

Having a risk-aware process is an important part of tier 2. To be risk-aware senior leaders/executives need to know: 1) types of threat sources and threat events that could have an adverse affect the ability of the organizations 2) the potential adverse impacts on the organizational operations and assets, individuals, the Nation if confidentiality, integrity, availability is compromised 3) the organization�s resilience to such an attack that can be achieved with a given mission/business process

Tier 3: Information System risk management

From the information system perspective, tier 3 addresses the following tasks:
1) Categorization of the information system
2) Allocating the organizational security control
3) Selection, implementation, assessment, authorization, and ongoing

Chapter 3 focuses on the step to have a comprehensive risk management program. The tasks discussed include:
Risk Framing
Risk Assessing
Risk Response
Risk Monitoring


For more information go to: http://elamb.org/training-certification800-39-manage-information-security-risks/


DIACAP to DIARMF: Assessment Authorization

DIACAP to DIARMF: Assessment Authorization

DIACAP to DIARMF: Assessment Authorization

With the move from certification and accreditation (C&A) to risk management framework, comes a few new terms.  “C&A” will be replaced with assessment and authorization.  Even though “information assurance (IA) controls” will be call “security controls”, the definition and work is still the same, but the hope is that its done continuously and more cost-effective.


Certification (NIST Assessment) – Comprehensive evaluation of an information system assessment of IA Controls/Security Controls to determine the extent to which the controls are implemented correctly and operating as intended. That means when evaluated, they produce the desired outcome.  An assessment is about gathering information to providing the factual basis for an authorizing official (Designated Accrediting Authority) to render a security accreditation decision

Accreditation (NIST Authorization) – Security accreditation is the official management decision to operate (DAA – Formal approval of the system). Authorization is given by a senior agency official (upper-management/higher head quarters/combat commander). The official should have the authority to oversee the budget and business operations of the information system explicitly accept the risk to operations, assets, individuals. They accept responsibility for the security of the system and are fully accountable for the security of the system.

The official management decision given by a senior organization“The official management decision given by a senior organizational official to authorize operation of an information system and to explicitly accept the risk to organizational operations (including mission, functions, image, or reputation), organizational assets, individuals, other organizations, and the Nation based on the implementation of an agreed-upon set of security controls.”

– NIST SP 800-37 rev 1

March 14, 2014, UPDATE RMF – DoD IT:

DIARMF will be known as Risk Management Framework for DoD IT.


diacap diarmf

diacap to diarmf: intro


diacap diarmf

image of diacap to rmf

DoD Chief Information Officer (formerly Assistant Security Defense), in collaboration with the Department of the Navy CIO, has developed a DoDI 8500.2 to NIST SP 800-53 IA control mapping (2010). More DIACAP Knowledge Service.

DIACAP Knowledge Service

On the DIACAP Knowledge Service goto “C&A Transformation”. This page introduces some of the coming changes from Certification & Accreditation changes to the Risk Management Framework seen in NIST SP 800-37.

DIACAP has “Risk Management Framework Transformation Initiative” underway that provides information on use of NIST SP 800-53, NIST SP 800-37, CNSS Instruction 1253.

The site introduces changes being made to DoDD 8500.01, DoDI 8500.2, DoDI 8510.01 and other documents that will be aligned with NIST 800 and FISMA 2013. They will feature an attempt to keep up with new arising cyberthreats, vulnerabilites and security incidence using real-time, “continuous monitoring” technologies such as HP ArcSight, McAfee ESM, ePO, NSP, Retina, Nessuss and other near real-time active monitoring systems.

diacap to diarmf

road to diarmf


Federal government has gotten more serious about security.  They realize that enterprise level security and process is a continuous and expensive business.  The old certification & accreditation process is not only long and expensive but so slow that it cannot keep up with the constant changes of information technology.

Risk based/cost effective security means creating security systems and policies that focus on “adequate security”.  The Executive Branch Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines as adequate security, or security commensurate with risk, to include the magnitude of harm resulting from the unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction of information.  The feds are also attempting to make the process of implementing and evaluating security controls by creating as much paper-less automation as possible.

note IMHO: Since technology is changing at a rate of what Ray Kurzweil calls “accelerating returns” I think for governments and organizations stuck in “static policy” based systems there is no way they can ever keep up with information technology without revolutionary shift in thinking.  Google is probably the closest to understanding what is actually happening.  The best any of us can do is observe.

 Source documents for all U.S. Federal information security:

OMB A-130 – Management of Federal Information Resources

FISMA – Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002

Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA, 44 U.S.C. § 3541) enacted as Title III of the E-Government Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-347)

Required for all government agencies  to develop, document, and implement an agency-wide information security program to provide information security for the information and systems that support the operations and assets of the agency Applies to contractors and other sources.

The federal government has created various acts/laws to implement to changes to the C&A process to a more risk management approach and emphasize a risk-based policy for cost-effective security. These acts include (but are not limited to):

  •  Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (amended as of 2013 April)
  • The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
  • The Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996 (Clinger-Cohen Act) supported by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) through Circular A-130, Appendix III, Security of Federal Automated Information Resources



diacap to diarmf: C&A vs RMF

DIACAP is transitioning from a Certification and Accreditation to a Risk Management Framework.  Most of the new Risk Manager Framework is in the NIST Special Publication 800-37.  The old NIST SP 800-37 was also based on Certification and Accreditation.  After FISMA 2002, it adjusted to a Risk Management Framework in NIST SP 800-37 Rev 1, Guide for Applying the Risk Management Framework to Federal Information Systems.



NIST SP 800-37 to SP 800-37 rev 1 transformed from a Certification and Accreditation (C&A) process into the six-step Risk Management Framework (RMF).  The changes included:

  1. Revised process emphasizes
  2. Building information security capabilities into federal information systems through the application of state-of-the-practice management, operational, and technical security controls
  3. Maintaining awareness of the security state of information systems on an ongoing basis though enhanced monitoring processes
  4. Providing essential information to senior leaders to facilitate decisions regarding the acceptance of risk to organizational operations and assets, individuals, other organizations, and the Nation arising from the operation and use of information systems

diacap to diarmf: FISMA 2013

The Federal Information Security Amendments Act, H.R. 1163, Amends the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA).

Main Points of FISMA 2002:

  • Cost-effectively reduce information technology security risks
  • Vulnerability Database  System
  • Maintain an inventory of major information systems
  • Security Categorization of Federal IS by risk levels
  • Minimum security requirements
  • System Security planning process
  • Annual review of assigned IS compliance
  • Risk Management


The amendment has a few big changes to the previous 2002 version that will affect federal agencies.  But two main ones the stood out for me is the emphasis on automation and the CISO position.

The FISMA Amendment was passed by the House of Representatives (4 April 2013) but must still pass the Senate and be signed into law by the President.


1 – Continuous monitoring / automation of Everything -FISMA 2013, requires continuous monitoring (automation) and regular cyberthreat assessments for better oversight to federal organizations.

Security Incidents –  Security incidents are automatically detected with tools like McAfee Network Security Platform (IPS), Source Fire SNORT (IDS), McAfee ePO and Cisco IDS.  With the right people to manage the signatures and the configuration, theses are great products.  Once they are detected you can then do incident handling with something like Remedy.  FISMA 2013: “with a frequency sufficient to support risk-based security decisions, automated and continuous monitoring, when possible, for detecting, reporting, and responding to security incidents, consistent with standards and guidelines issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology”

Information Systems Security – Vulnerability scanners such as Retina and Tenable’s Nessuss are great with automatically detecting security controls and policies within an agency.  Change Auditor and other tools can detect changes the GPO’s within a domain.  FISMA 2013: “with a frequency sufficient to support risk-based security decisions, automated and continuous monitoring, when possible, for testing and evaluation of the effectiveness and compliance of information security policies, procedures, and practices, including…” Security controls

Risk Level & Impact of Harm – McAfee ESM and ArcSight are good and pulling in the data from security tools that detect security events, evaluating the risk level and giving an measurement of the possible harm of and asset.  FISMA 2013: “automated and continuous monitoring, when possible, of the risk and magnitude of the harm that could result from the disruption or unauthorized access, use, disclosure, modification, or destruction of information and information systems that support the operations and assets of the agency;

Detection/Correlation – this one could be grouped in with Security Incident, but Security Incident gets more into incident handling.  Also, ArcSight, McAfee, LogRythm, LogLogic, AlienVault and other Security Incident Event Managers do Correlation automatically.  FISMA 2013: “efficiently detect, correlate, respond to, contain, mitigate, and remediate incidents that impair the adequate security of the information systems of more than one agency. To the extent practicable, the capability shall be continuous and technically automated.”

2 – CISO positions and responsibilities backed by Law – The amendment requires each department head to be held accountable for IT.  In DoD Information Assurance Risk Management Framework (DIARMF) this department director is known as the Authorizing Official (aka Designated Authorizing Authority in DIACAP).  FISMA 2013 require the AO to have an Chief Information Security Officer.  This is a position that is already assigned under Risk Management Framework.  The DoD has referred to this position as Senior Information Assurance Officer in DIACAP.  Under FISMA 2013, CISO/SIAO must have must have qualifications to implement agency-wide security programs for which they are responsible
and report directly to the AO.

The CISCO/SIAO will also have responsibility of Automated Security systems.  The CISO will be responsible for development, maintaining and overseeing these automated systems.

FISMA 2013 is targeted to minimize the risk of cyberattacks by conducting pentesting.

Overall, they made automation a requirement, which is the direction the field of information security has already been following and put some more emphasis on the CISO.  The amendments highlight the changes from DIACAP to DIARMF as many of the changes are already in the NIST 800 series that DIARMF is based on.


Approved System

Information Assurance is based on obtaining a high level of confidence on information’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability.  Some organizations that deal with “critical information”.  Critical information included things like banking transactions, classified data, information that is evidence in an ongoing investigation.  Companies, unions and government that handle this kind of information usually have a lot of exposure because they are handling public data, share holder data, employee data and are doing a lot of translation across the un-trusted networks such as the Internet.  With critical information and high exposure these organizations MUST have “approved processes” for vetting, testing and validating “approved software” and “approved systems”.

For example, in the Department of Defense there are many lists that have approved software.  These lists are per command within larger organizations.  One over arching process/list is the Common Criteria:

Common Criteria is an international standard for validating technical security built in to security feature of information systems.  The international standard is known as ISO/IEC 15408.

This standard is used by many large organizations all over the world that serve the public:



Each organization has there own specific security needs so most of the time they have many levels of application approval and process:

NSA / DOD / US Gov – www.niap-ccevs.org – National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) uses Common Criteria Evaluation and Validation Scheme (CCEVS) to ensure that only approved Information Assurance (IA)  and IA-Enabled Information Technology (IT) products are used

Canadian Trusted Computer Product Evaluation Criteria

Commercial organizations that want their products used by organization processing and storing critical information must submit to common criteria as well:



xeroxCommon Criteria


CiscoCisco Common Criteria 
Emc – EMC – Common Criteria

Organizational units also have their own criteria for approved applications and systems:

US ArmyArmy Chess

US Air ForceAF E/APL – Certified Air Force Evaluated Approved Product List



SRR Findings to IA Controls

From Reader:

I stumbled upon your site and am new to security working for a contractor. I’m attempting to complete a DIACAP POA&M and need to map SRR findings to IA controls – any idea where I might find this information?

The SRR finding reference the DOD Unix STIG and NIPR STIG. It doesn’t seem to completely match up the the DIACAP IA Controls, but that is where a good system security engineer/ IA analyst comes in.

Once you’ve got your SRR results, IA Control compliance and mitigation depends on your situation. There are a few that map directly (like Screen Saver) but most of the SRR findings will fall under one or two of the IA Controls.

Hope this helps.

DIACAP Essentials + IA Control Validation Training (part 4): DIACAP/AFCAP Day3

UPDAT: 2014 – Risk Management Framework for DOD IT released.

Day 3 heats up a little. We start talking about what it take to actually get validated. The DIACAP Implementers Guide & the DIACAP Validators guide is opened up and reviewed. I think we all learned a little something during this discussion because there have been some challenges with this. Unfortunately, we don’t to far into the validator stuff.

Day 3:

DIACAP Structure

Terminology Review

Assemble DIACAP Team

Registered System/System Information Profile

Assign IA Controls

Initiate DIACAP Implementation Plan

DIACAP Essentials + IA Control Validation Training (part 2): DIACAP/AFCAP Day1

This is the second installment of the DIACAP Essentials journal.

In the first day of class we’ve taken a high level look at the big picture of the Department of Defense Information Assurance Certification & Accreditation Process (DIACAP) and Air Force Certification & Accreditation Program (AFCAP). It is a very valuable tool for a beginner.

Since I’ve gone through the entire process (with a legacy system) more than once through all the growing pains of Air Force C&A from DITSCAP to DIACAP, I found that I knew about 90% of everything taught. I don’t mind having a refresher, though and quite frankly, I need the CPE’s for my CISSP :).

There were a couple of golden nuggets that I’ve been able to get out of some of the old timers. I learned some interesting things about how the Navy, Marines and Army do things.
Navy (as weird as their dumb ass rank system.. yep, I said it.. its dumb) have like three systems: DITPR-DON, DA-DUMB and some other BS, Marines have something called Exacta and the Army has APMS (Army Profile Management System). Also learned cool off topic stuff like history of eMass.

I must admit I’m looking forward to day two.
pros of day 1: Good solid start on basics GREAT for beginners. SecureInfo gets mad props for have a great instructor John M.(don’t know if he wants his full name published.. but he’s highly, highly knowledgeable and very positive).

cons of day 1: Right off the bat I am noticing a huge hole in the training… a lack of in depth teaching of EITDR, which is how the Air Force implements, manages and maintains