recommended reading

NIST's 5 Steps to Block Unwanted Software on Agency Systems

Maksim Kabakou/Shutterstock.com

The National Institute of Standards and Technology wants to help organizations keep out unwanted software through automatic application whitelisting.

The agency released a guide in October to help organizations understand and implement this technology, which is meant to control what software is allowed on an organization’s network. The technology aims to stop malware, unlicensed software and other unauthorized software. 

“Unlike antivirus software, which blocks known bad activity and permits all other actions, application whitelisting technology only permits known good activity and blocks all others,” said Senior Information Technology Policy Adviser Adam Sedgewick in a statement released with the guide.

Compared with the manual version of this technology, automated whitelisting can be a simpler approach to screening and approving software patches and updates, according to the guide.

Although employees may be discouraged from using unauthorized software, oftentimes they are able to download the newest version of an operating system before it is vetted, according to a NIST statement.

The guide’s authors recommended agencies use phased deployment to incorporate this whitelisting technique, which can "minimize unforeseen issues and identify potential pitfalls early in the process."

The document recommended agencies follow a five-step process:

Initiate the solution: Agencies should determine current and future needs for application whitelisting, with a specific focus on performance requirements and functionality.

Design the solution: There are many different forms whitelisting can take.

Implement and test a prototype: Use a lab or test environment to determine the technology’s functionality, management, performance and level of security.

Deploy the solution: Implementing the technology throughout the organization should be gradual.

Manage the solution:The work doesn’t stop after deployment, agencies should continue to monitor the technology throughout its lifecycle.

(Image via Maksim Kabakou/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Network intrusion / Software vulnerability

Hundreds of Thousands of Job Seekers' Information May Have Been Compromised by Hackers

See threatwatch report

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.