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Proceedings Paper

NINJA: a noninvasive framework for internal computer security hardening
Author(s): Thomas G. Allen; Steve Thomson
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Paper Abstract

Vulnerabilities are a growing problem in both the commercial and government sector. The latest vulnerability information compiled by CERT/CC, for the year ending Dec. 31, 2002 reported 4129 vulnerabilities representing a 100% increase over the 2001 [1] (the 2003 report has not been published at the time of this writing). It doesn’t take long to realize that the growth rate of vulnerabilities greatly exceeds the rate at which the vulnerabilities can be fixed. It also doesn’t take long to realize that our nation’s networks are growing less secure at an accelerating rate. As organizations become aware of vulnerabilities they may initiate efforts to resolve them, but quickly realize that the size of the remediation project is greater than their current resources can handle. In addition, many IT tools that suggest solutions to the problems in reality only address "some" of the vulnerabilities leaving the organization unsecured and back to square one in searching for solutions. This paper proposes an auditing framework called NINJA (acronym for Network Investigation Notification Joint Architecture) for noninvasive daily scanning/auditing based on common security vulnerabilities that repeatedly occur in a network environment. This framework is used for performing regular audits in order to harden an organizations security infrastructure. The framework is based on the results obtained by the Network Security Assessment Team (NSAT) which emulates adversarial computer network operations for US Air Force organizations. Auditing is the most time consuming factor involved in securing an organization's network infrastructure. The framework discussed in this paper uses existing scripting technologies to maintain a security hardened system at a defined level of performance as specified by the computer security audit team. Mobile agents which were under development at the time of this writing are used at a minimum to improve the noninvasiveness of our scans. In general, noninvasive scans with an adequate framework performed on a daily basis reduce the amount of security work load as well as the timeliness in performing remediation, as verified by the NINJA framework. A vulnerability assessment/auditing architecture based on mobile agent technology is proposed and examined at the end of the article as an enhancement to the current NINJA architecture.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 July 2004
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5441, Battlespace Digitization and Network-Centric Systems IV, (19 July 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.542500
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas G. Allen, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Steve Thomson, Unisys Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5441:
Battlespace Digitization and Network-Centric Systems IV
Raja Suresh, Editor(s)

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