Building a Software Assurance Roadmap and Using It Effectively

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Robert Martin, Senior Principal Engineer, MITRE

Building a Software Assurance Roadmap and Using It Effectively

Robert Martin, Senior Principal Engineer, MITRE

With so many ways for software to be vulnerable, businesses needs a way to focus their assurance efforts on those potential vulnerabilities that are most dangerous to them and their software.  This talk will offer a new way to focus and organize your software vulnerability assessment and assurance efforts across the entire life-cycle of a project so that you target the most impactful weaknesses when they are most visible.

The approach described can be done consistently across your enterprise and will have you considering the attacker and their capabilities (using CAPEC) and looking for specific weaknesses (CWEs) at the point where you can gain the most assurance that you have dealt with them successfully. Matched to the activities of your development effort, this approach will have your team looking for those security weaknesses that are most discernible/findable in each of the different stages of a software development effort.

For example, when you have a live exemplar system available you should look for the weaknesses in design, configuration, code, or architecture that are findable through dynamic analysis, pen testing, or red teaming of that living system. Similarly, in the coding phase you want the emphasis to be looking for weaknesses that are findable by static analysis tools.

The follow-on step to this approach is to use what you found and what you did to create “An Assurance Case", basically an assurance "map" for the project.  This talk will conclude with a discussion of what such a map could look like, what it could capture, how the information could be obtained, whom would/could create them, and how they could be represented for customers and partners to use.

Key takeaways:

  • Assurance relies on clear communications.
  • Assurance is an iterative journey that may need to be revisited.
  • Automation, based on standards are the key to economical application of assurance to systems.

Robert Martin, a CSSLP and Senior Principal Engineer at MITRE, spends the majority of his time working with industry on the CWE, CVE, and CAPEC security standardization initiatives. For the past 23 years, Robert's efforts focused on the interplay of risk management and cyber security.  Robert frequently speaks on the various security and quality issues surrounding information technology systems, has published numerous papers on these topics, authored over a dozen ITU-T Recommendations, and chairs the OMG Structured Assurance Cases Metamodel Task Force. Robert has a BS and MS in EE from RPI and an MBA from Babson College.



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