SEI Insights

SEI Blog

The Latest Research in Software Engineering and Cybersecurity

Malware Analysis, Acquisition Strategies, Network Situational Awareness, & Cyber Risk - The Latest Research from the SEI

Posted on by in

As part of an ongoing effort to keep you informed about our latest work, I would like to let you know about some recently published SEI technical reports and notes. These reports highlight the latest work of SEI technologists in malware analysis, acquisition strategies, network situational awareness, resilience management (with three reports from this research area), incident management, and future architectures. This post includes a listing of each report, author(s), and links where the published reports can be accessed on the SEI website.

Using Malware Analysis to Tailor SQUARE for Mobile Platforms
By Gregory Paul Alice and Nancy R. Mead

As the number of mobile-device software applications has grown, so has the amount of malware targeting them. More than 650,000 pieces of malware now target the Android platform. As mobile malware becomes more sophisticated and begins to approach threat levels seen on PC platforms, software development security practices for mobile applications will need to adopt the security practices for PC applications to reduce consumers' exposure to financial and privacy breaches on mobile platforms. This technical note explores the development of security requirements for the K-9 Mail application, an open source email client for the Android operating system. The project's case study (1) used the Security Quality Requirements Engineering (SQUARE) methodology to develop K-9 Mail's security requirements and (2) used malware analysis to identify new security requirements in a proposed extension to the SQUARE process. This second task analyzed the impacts of DroidCleaner, a piece of Android malware, on the security goals of the K-9 Mail application. Based on the findings, new requirements are created to ensure that similar malware cannot compromise the privacy and confidentiality of email contents.
Download a PDF of the report.

A Method for Aligning Acquisition Strategies and Software Architectures
By Lisa Brownsword, Cecilia Albert, David J. Carney, & Patrick R. Place

In the acquisition of a software-intensive system, the relationship between the software architecture and the acquisition strategy is typically not carefully examined. To remedy this lack, a research team at the SEI has focused a multiyear effort to discover an initial set of failure patterns that result when these entities become misaligned and identify a set of desired relationships among the business and mission goals, system and software architectures, and the acquisition strategy. This report describes the result of the third year of the SEI's research, where the team defined a method that indicates such areas of misalignment (i.e., between a program's architecture and acquisition strategy). The alignment method is used as early in a program's lifetime as practical, ideally before the architecture or acquisition strategy has attained full definition. The authors illustrate the method by means of a case study, during which many of the key elements of the method were piloted.
Download a PDF of the report.

Smart Collection and Storage Method for Network Traffic Data
By Angela Horneman & Nathan Dell

Captured network data enables an organization to perform routine tasks such as network situational awareness and incident response to security alerts. The process of capturing, storing, and evaluating network traffic as part of monitoring is an increasingly complex and critical problem. With high-speed networks and ever-increasing network traffic volumes, full-packet traffic capture solutions can require petabytes of storage for a single day. The capacity needed to store full-packet captures for a time frame that permits the needed analysis is unattainable for many organizations. A tiered network storage solution, which stores only the most critical or effective types of traffic in full-packet captures and the rest as summary data, can help organizations mitigate the storage issues while providing the detailed information they need. This report discusses considerations and decisions to be made when designing a tiered network data storage solution. It includes a method, based on a cost-effectiveness model, that can help organizations decide what types of network traffic to store at each storage tier. The report also uses real-world network measurements to show how storage requirements change based on what traffic is stored in which storage tier.
Download a PDF of the report.

CERT Resilience Management Model--Mail-Specific Process Areas: Mail Induction (Version 1.0)
By Julia H. Allen , Greg Crabb (U.S. Postal Inspection Service) , Pamela D. Curtis , Nader Mehravari, & David W. White

Developing and implementing measurable methodologies for improving the security and resilience of a national postal sector directly contribute to protecting public and postal personnel, assets, and revenues. Such methodologies also contribute to the security and resilience of the mode of transport used to carry mail and the protection of the global mail supply chain. Since 2011, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) has collaborated with the SEI's CERT Division to improve the resilience of selected U.S. Postal Service (USPS) products and services. The CERT Resilience Management Model (CERT-RMM) and its companion diagnostic methods served as the foundational tool for this collaboration.

This report includes one result of the USPIS/CERT collaboration. It is an extension of CERT-RMM to include a new mail-specific process area for the induction (acceptance) of mail into the U.S. domestic mail stream. The purpose is to ensure that mail is collected and accepted in accordance with USPS standards and requirements for the resilience of mail during the induction process.
Download a PDF of the report.

CERT Resilience Management Model--Mail-Specific Process Areas: Mail Revenue Assurance (Version 1.0)
By Julia H. Allen , Greg Crabb (U.S. Postal Inspection Service) , Pamela D. Curtis , Nader Mehravari , & David W. White

Developing and implementing measurable methodologies for improving the security and resilience of a national postal sector directly contribute to protecting public and postal personnel, assets, and revenues. Such methodologies also contribute to the security and resilience of the mode of transport used to carry mail and the protection of the global mail supply chain. Since 2011, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) has collaborated with the SEI's CERT Division to improve the resilience of selected U.S. Postal Service (USPS) products and services. The CERT Resilience Management Model (CERT-RMM) and its companion diagnostic methods served as the foundational tool for this collaboration.

This report includes one result of the USPIS/CERT collaboration. It is an extension of CERT-RMM to include a new mail-specific process area for revenue assurance. The purpose is to ensure that the USPS is compensated for all mail that is accepted, transported, and delivered.
Download a PDF of the report.

CERT Resilience Management Model--Mail-Specific Process Areas: International Mail Transportation (Version 1.0)
By Julia H. Allen , Greg Crabb (U.S. Postal Inspection Service) , Pamela D. Curtis , Sam Lin, Nader Mehravari , & Dawn Wilkes

Developing and implementing measurable methodologies for improving the security and resilience of a national postal sector directly contribute to protecting public and postal personnel, assets, and revenues. Such methodologies also contribute to the security and resilience of the mode of transport used to carry mail and the protection of the global mail supply chain. Since 2011, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) has collaborated with the SEI's CERT Division to improve the resilience of selected U.S. Postal Service (USPS) products and services. The CERT Resilience Management Model (CERT-RMM) and its companion diagnostic methods served as the foundational tool for this collaboration.

This report includes one result of the USPIS/CERT collaboration. It is an extension of CERT-RMM to include a new mail-specific process area for the transportation of international mail. The purpose is to ensure that all international mail is transported in accordance with the standards established by the Universal Postal Union (UPU), which is the governing body that regulates the transportation of international mail.
Download a PDF of the report.

A Systematic Approach for Assessing Workforce Readiness
By Christopher J. Alberts & David McIntire

Workforce effectiveness relies on two critical characteristics: competence and readiness. Competence is the sufficient mastery of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform a given task. It reflects how well an individual understands subject matter or is able to apply a given skill. Readiness is the ability to apply the total set of competencies required to perform a job task in a real-world environment with acceptable proficiency. A readiness test assesses an individual's ability to apply a group of technical and core competencies needed to perform and excel at a job task. This report describes research into workforce readiness conducted by the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) Development and Training team in the SEI's CERT Division. This report presents the Competency Lifecycle Roadmap (CLR), a conceptual framework for establishing and maintaining workforce readiness within an organization. It also describes the readiness test development method, which defines a structured, systematic approach for constructing and piloting readiness tests. Finally, the report illustrates the initial application of the readiness test development method to the role of forensic analyst.
Download a PDF of the report.

Patterns and Practices for Future Architectures
By Eric Werner, Scott McMillan, & Jonathan Chu

Graph algorithms are widely used in Department of Defense (DoD) applications including intelligence analysis, autonomous systems, cyber intelligence and security, and logistics optimization. These analytics must execute at larger scales and higher rates to accommodate the growing velocity, volume, and variety of data sources. The implementations of these algorithms that achieve the highest levels of performance are complex and intimately tied to the underlying architecture. New and emerging computing architectures require new and different implementations of these well-known graph algorithms, yet it is increasingly expensive and difficult for developers to implement algorithms that fully leverage their capabilities. This project investigates approaches that will make high-performance graph analytics on new and emerging architectures more accessible to users. The project is researching the best practices, patterns, and abstractions that will enable the development of a software graph library that separates the concerns of expressing graph algorithms from the details of the underlying computing architectures. The approach started with a fundamental graph analytics function: the breadth-first search (BFS). This technical note compares different BFS algorithms for central and graphics processing units, examining the abstractions used and comparing the complexity of the implementations against the performance achieved.
Download a PDF of the report.

Additional Resources

For the latest SEI technical reports and notes, please visit
http://resources.sei.cmu.edu/library/.

About the Author

Douglas C. Schmidt

Contact Douglas C. Schmidt
Visit the SEI Digital Library for other publications by Douglas
View other blog posts by Douglas C. Schmidt

Comments

Policy

We welcome comments with a wide range of opinions and views. To keep the conversation focused on topic, we reserve the right to moderate comments.

Add a Comment

Comments*


Type the characters you see in the picture above.