System Assurance book cover

System Assurance

Beyond Detecting Vulnerabilities

In this day of frequent acquisitions and perpetual application integrations, systems are often an amalgamation of multiple programming languages and runtime platforms using new and legacy content. Systems of such mixed origins are increasingly vulnerable to defects and subversion.

System Assurance: Beyond Detecting Vulnerabilities addresses these critical issues. As a practical resource for security analysts and engineers tasked with system assurance, the book teaches you how to use the Object Management Group’s (OMG) expertise and unique standards to obtain accurate knowledge about your existing software and compose objective metrics for system assurance. OMG’s Assurance Ecosystem provides a common framework for discovering, integrating, analyzing, and distributing facts about your existing enterprise software. Its foundation is the standard protocol for exchanging system facts, defined as the OMG Knowledge Discovery Metamodel (KDM). In addition, the Semantics of Business Vocabularies and Business Rules (SBVR) defines a standard protocol for exchanging security policy rules and assurance patterns. Using these standards together, you will learn how to leverage the knowledge of the cybersecurity community and bring automation to protect your system.


Technologists from a broad range of software companies and related industries; Security Analysts; Computer Systems Analysts, Computer Software Engineers-Systems Software, Computer Software Engineers- Applications, Computer and Information Systems Managers, Network systems and Data Communication Analysts.

Paperback, 368 Pages

Published: December 2010

Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann

ISBN: 978-0-12-381414-2


  • "The Object Management Group (OMG) Software Assurance Ecosystem described in this book is a significant step towards collaborative cyber security automation; it offers a standards-based solution for building security and resilience in computer systems." -Joe Jarzombek, Director for Software Assurance, Global Cyber Security Management, National Cyber Security Division, Department of Homeland Security

    "System Assurance is a very complex and difficult subject. This book successfully demonstrates and describes in detail how to combine different existing tools together in order to systematically develop System Assurance documentation and justification in a practical manner for a specific domain. The book provides very useful practical guidance that can be used by technical and management practitioners for the specific domain described, and by example for others for different domains." -John P. Hopkinson, Security Strategist, Kwictech


  • Contents

    1. Why Hackers know more about our systems

    1.1 Operating in cyberspace involves risks

    1.2 Why Hackers are repeatadly successful

    1.2.1 What are the challenges in defending cybersystems? Difficulties in understanding and assessing risks Understanding Development Trends Comprehending Systems’ Complexity Understanding Assessment Practices and their Limitations Vulnerability Scanning Technologies and their Issues

    1.3 Where do We Go from Here

    1.3.1 Systematic and repeatable defense at affordable cost

    1.3.2 The OMG Software Assurance Ecosystem

    1.3.3 Linguistic Modeling to manage the common vocabulary

    1.4 Who should read this book

    2 Chapter: Confidence as a Product

    2.1 Are you confident that there is no black cat in the dark room?

    2.2 The Nature of Assurance

    2.2.1 Engineering, Risk and Assurance

    2.2.2 Assurance Case (AC) Contents of an Assurance Case Structure of the Assurance Argument

    2.3 Overview of the Assurance Process

    2.3.1 Producing Confidence Economics of Confidence

    3 Chapter: How to Build Confidence

    3.1 Assurance in the System Lifecycle

    3.2 Activities of System Assurance Process

    3.2.1 Project Definition

    3.2.2 Project Preparation

    3.2.3 Assurance argument development

    3.2.4 Architecture Security Analysis Discover System Facts Threat identification Safeguard Identification Vulnerability detection Security Posture Analysis

    3.2.5 Evidence analysis

    3.2.6 Assurance Case Delivery

    4 Chapter: Knowledge of System as of Element in Cybersecurity argument

    4.1 What is system

    4.2 Boundaries of the system

    4.3 Resolution of the system description

    4.4 Conceptual commitment for system descriptions

    4.5 System architecture

    4.6 Example of an architecture framework

    4.7 Elements of System

    4.8 System Knowledge Involves Multiple Viewpoints

    4.9 Concept of operations (CONOP)

    4.10 Network Configuration

    4.11 System life cycle and assurance

    4.11.1 System life cycle stages

    4.11.2 Enabling Systems

    4.11.3 Supply Chain

    4.11.4 System life cycle processes

    4.11.5 The implications to the common vocabulary and the integrated system model

    5 Chapter: Knowledge of Risk as an Element of Cybersecurity argument

    5.1 Introduction

    5.2 Basic cybersecurity elements

    5.3 Common vocabulary for risk analysis

    5.3.1 Defining diScernable vocabulary for Assets

    5.3.2 Threats and hazards

    5.3.3 Defining dicernable vocabulary for Injury and Impact

    5.3.4 Defining dicernable vocabulary for threats

    5.3.5 Threat scenarios and attacks

    5.3.6 Defining dicernable vocabulary for vulnerabilities

    5.3.7 Defining dicernable vocabulary for safeguards

    5.3.8 Risk

    5.4 Systematic Threat Identification

    5.5 Assurance Strategies

    5.5.1 Injury Argument

    5.5.2 Entry point argument

    5.5.3 Threat argument

    5.5.4 Vulnerability argument

    5.5.5 Security requirement argument

    5.5.6 Assurance of the threat identification

    6 Chapter: Knowledge of Vulnerabilities as an Element of Cybersecurity Argument

    6.1 Vulnerability as part of system knowledege

    6.1.1 What is Vulnerability

    6.1.2 Vulnerability as Unit of Knowledge: The History of Vulnerability

    6.1.3 Vulnerabilities and the Phases of the System Life Cycle

    6.1.4 Enumeration of Vulnerabilities as a Knowledge Product

    6.1.5 Vulnerability Databases US-CERT Open Source Vulnerability Database (OSVDB)

    6.1.6 Vulnerability Life Cycle

    6.2 NIST Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) Ecosystem

    6.2.1 Overview of SCAP Ecosystem

    6.2.2 Information Exchanges under SCAP

    7 Chapter: Vulnerability Patterns as a New Assurance Content

    7.1 Beyond Current SCAP Ecosystem

    7.2 Vulnerability Patterns

    7.3 Software Fault Patterns

    7.3.1 Safeguard category of clusters and corresponding Software fault Patterns (SFPs) Authentication Access Control Privilege

    7.3.2 Direct Impact category of clusters and corresponding Software fault Patterns (SFPs) Information Leak Memory Management Memory Access Path Resolution Tainted Input

    8 Chapter: OMG Software Assurance Ecosystem

    8.1 Introduction

    8.2 OMG Assurance Ecosystem: towards collaborative cybersecurity

    9 Chapter: Common Fact Model for Assurance Content

    9.1 Assurance Content

    9.2 The Objectives

    9.3 Design criteria for information exchange protocols

    9.4 Tradeoffs

    9.5 Information Exchange Protocols

    9.6 The Nuts and Bolts of Fact Models

    9.6.1 Objects

    9.6.2 Noun Concepts

    9.6.3 Facts about existence of objects

    9.6.4 Individual concepts

    9.6.5 Relations between concepts

    9.6.6 Verb concepts

    9.6.7 Characteristics

    9.6.8 Situational concepts

    9.6.9 Viewpoints and views

    9.6.10 Information exchanges and assurance

    9.6.11 Fact-oriented Integration

    9.6.12 Automatic derivation of facts

    9.7 The representation of facts

    9.7.1 Representing facts in XML

    9.7.2 Representing facts and schemes in Prolog

    9.8 The common schema

    9.9 System assurance facts

     10 Chapter: Linguistic Models

    10.1 Fact Models and Linguistic Models

    10.2 Background

    10.3 Overview of SBVR

    10.4 How to use SBVR

    10.4.1 Simple vocabulary

    10.4.2 Vocabulary Entries

    10.4.3 Statements

    10.4.4 Statements as formal definitions of new concepts Definition of a Noun Concept Definition of a Verb Concept The General Concept caption

    10.5 SBVR Vocabulary for describing Elementary Meanings

    10.6 SBVR Vocabulary for describing Representations

    10.7 SBVR Vocabulary for describing Extensions

    10.8 Reference schemes

    10.9 SBVR Semantic Formulations

    10.9.1 Defining new terms and facts types using SBVR

    11 Chapter: Standard Protocol for Exchanging System Facts

    11.1 Background

    11.2 Organization of the KDM vocabulary

    11.2.1 Infrastructure Layer

    11.2.2 Program Elements Layer

    11.2.3 Resource Layer

    11.2.4 Abstractions Layer

    11.3 The process of discovering system facts

    11.4 Discovering the baseline system facts

    11.4.1 Inventory views Inventory Viewpoint vocabulary in SBVR

    11.4.2 Build Views

    11.4.3 Data views

    11.4.4 UI views

    11.4.5 Code views Code views: Elements of Structure Code views: Elements of Behavior Micro KDM

    11.4.6 Platform views

    11.4.7 Event views

    11.5 Performing architecture analysis

    11.5.1 Structure Views

    11.5.2 Conceptual Views Linguistic Viewpoint Behavior Viewpoint

    12 Chapter: Case Study

    12.1 Introduction

    12.2 Background

    12.3 Concepts of operations

    12.3.1 Executive summary

    12.3.2 Purpose

    12.3.3 Locations

    12.3.4 Operational Authority

    12.3.5 System Architecture Clicks2Bricks Web server Database server SMTP server

    12.3.6 System Assumptions

    12.3.7 External dependencies

    12.3.8 Implementation Assumptions

    12.3.9 Interfaces with Other Systems

    12.3.10 Security assumptions

    12.3.11 External Security Notes

    12.3.12 Internal Security notes

    12.4 Business vocabulary and security policy for Clicks2Bricks in SBVR

    12.5 Building the integrated system model

    12.5.1 Building the baseline system model

    12.5.2 Enhancing the baseline model with the system architecture facts

    12.6 Mapping cybersecurity facts to system facts

    12.7 Assurance case


advert image