recommended reading

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

Maksim Kabakou/

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/

Threatwatch Alert

Network intrusion

Florida’s Concealed Carry Permit Holders Names Exposed

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

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

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


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