The Twenty Critical Security Controls have already begun to transform security in government agencies and other large enterprises by focusing their spending on the key controls that block known attacks and find the ones that get through. With the change in FISMA reporting implemented on June 1, the 20 Critical Controls become the centerpiece of effective security programs across government These controls allow those responsible for compliance and those responsible for security to agree, for the first time, on what needs to be done to make systems safer. No development in security is having a more profound and far reaching impact.
These Top 20 Controls were agreed upon by a powerful consortium brought together by John Gilligan (previously CIO of the US Department of Energy and the US Air Force) under the auspices of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Members of the Consortium include NSA, US Cert, DoD JTF-GNO, the Department of Energy Nuclear Laboratories, Department of State, DoD Cyber Crime Center plus the top commercial forensics experts and pen testers that serve the banking and critical infrastructure communities.
The automation of these Top 20 Controls will radically lower the cost of security while improving its effectiveness. The US State Department, under CISO John Streufert, has already demonstrated more than 94% reduction in “measured” security risk through the rigorous automation and measurement of the Top 20 Controls.
- Critical Control 1: Inventory of Authorized and Unauthorized Devices
- Critical Control 2: Inventory of Authorized and Unauthorized Software
- Critical Control 3: Secure Configurations for Hardware and Software on Laptops, Workstations, and Servers
- Critical Control 4: Secure Configurations for Network Devices such as Firewalls, Routers, and Switches
- Critical Control 5: Boundary Defense
- Critical Control 6: Maintenance, Monitoring, and Analysis of Security Audit Logs
- Critical Control 7: Application Software Security
- Critical Control 8: Controlled Use of Administrative Privileges
- Critical Control 9: Controlled Access Based on the Need to Know
- Critical Control 10: Continuous Vulnerability Assessment and Remediation
- Critical Control 11: Account Monitoring and Control
- Critical Control 12: Malware Defenses
- Critical Control 13: Limitation and Control of Network Ports, Protocols, and Services
- Critical Control 14: Wireless Device Control
- Critical Control 15: Data Loss Prevention
Additional Security Controls
The following sections identify additional controls that are important but cannot be fully automatically or continuously monitored to the same degree as the controls covered earlier in this document.
- Critical Control 16: Secure Network Engineering
- Critical Control 17: Penetration Tests and Red Team Exercises
- Critical Control 18: Incident Response Capability
- Critical Control 19: Data Recovery Capability
- Critical Control 20: Security Skills Assessment and Appropriate Training to Fill Gaps