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The DFIR Hierarchy of Needs & Critical Security Controls

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As you weigh how best to improve your organization's digital forensics and incident response (DFIR) capabilities heading into 2017, consider Matt Swann 's Incident Response Hierarchy of Needs . Likely, at some point in your career (or therapy :wink:) you've heard reference to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs . In summary, Maslow's terms, physiological, safety, belongingness & love, esteem, self-actualization, and self-transcendence, describe a pattern that human motivations generally move through, a pattern that is well represented in the form of a pyramid.

Matt has made great use of this model to describe an Incident Response Hierarchy of Needs , through which your DFIR methods should move. I argue that his powerful description of capabilities extends to the whole of DFIR rather than response alone. From Matt's Github, "t he Incident Response Hierarchy describes the capabilities that organizations must build to defend their business assets. Bottom capabilities are prerequisites for successful execution of the capabilities above them:"


The DFIR Hierarchy of Needs & Critical Security Controls
The Incident Response Hierarchy of Needs

"The capabilities may also be organized into plateaus or phases that organizations may experience as they develop these capabilities:"


The DFIR Hierarchy of Needs & Critical Security Controls
Hierarchy plateaus or phases

As visualizations, these representations really do speak for themselves, and I applaud Matt's fine work. I would like to propose that a body of references and controls may be of use to you in achieving this hierarchy to its utmost. I also welcome your feedback and contributions regarding how to achieve each of these needs and phases. Feel free to submit controls, tools, and tactics you have or would deploy to be successful in these endeavors; I'll post your submission along with your preferred social media handle.

Aspects of the Center for Internet Security Critical Security Controls Version 6.1 (CIS CSC) can be mapped to each of Matt's hierarchical entities and phases. Below I offer one control and one tool to support each entry. Note that there is a level of subjectivity to these mappings and tooling, but the intent is to help you adopt this thinking and achieve this agenda. Following is an example for each one, starting from the bottom of the pyramid.

INVENTORY - Can you name the assets you are defending?

Critical Security Control #1: Inventory of Authorized and Unauthorized Devices

Family: System

Control: 1.4

"Maintain an asset inventory of all systems connected to the network and the network devices themselves, recording at least the network addresses, machine name(s), purpose of each system, an asset owner responsible for each device, and the department associated with each device. The inventory should include every system that has an Internet protocol (IP) address on the network, including but not limited to desktops, laptops, servers, network equipment (routers, switches, firewalls, etc.), printers, storage area networks, Voice Over-IP telephones, multi-homed addresses, virtual addresses, etc. The asset inventory created must also include data on whether the device is a portable and/or personal device. Devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and other portable electronic devices that store or process data must be identified, regardless of whether they are attached to the organization’s network."

Tool option:

Spiceworks Inventory

TELEMETRY - Do you have visibility across your assets?

Critical Security Control #6: Maintenance, Monitoring, and Analysis of Audit Logs

Family: System

Control: 6.6 "Deploy a SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) or log analytic tools for log aggregation and consolidation from multiple machines and for log correlation and analysis. Using the SIEM tool, system administrators and security personnel should devise profiles of common events from given systems so that they can tune detection to focus on unusual activity, avoid false positives, more rapidly identify anomalies, and prevent overwhelming analysts with insignificant alerts."

Tool option:

AlienVault OSSIM

DETECTION - Can you detect unauthorized actvity?

Critical Security Control #8: Malware Defenses

Family: System

Control: 8.1

"Employ automated tools to continuously monitor workstations, servers, and mobile devices with anti-virus, anti-spyware, personal firewalls, and host-based IPS functionality. All malware detection events should be sent to enterprise anti-malware administration tools and event log servers."

Tool option:

OSSEC O pen S ource HIDS SEC urity

TRIAGE - Can you accurately classify detection results?

Critical Security Control #4: Continuous Vulnerability Assessment and Remediation

Family: System

Control: 4.3

"Correlate event logs with information from vulnerability scans to fulfill two goals. First, personnel should verify that the activity of the regular vulnerability scanning tools is itself logged. Second, personnel should be able to correlate attack detection events with prior vulnerability scanning results to determine whether the given exploit was used against a target known to be vulnerable."
Tool option:

OpenVAS

THREATS - Who are your adversaries? What are their capabilities?

Critical Security Control #19: Incident Response and Management

Family: Application

Control: 19.7

"Conduct periodic incident scenario sessions for personnel associated with the incident handling team to ensure that they understand current threats and risks, as well as their responsibilities in supporting the incident handling team."

Tool option:

Security Incident Response Testing To Meet Audit Requirements

BEHAVIORS - Can you detect adversary activity within your environment?

Critical Security Control #5: Controlled Use of Administrative Privileges

Family: System

Control: 5.1

"Minimize administrative privileges and only use administrative

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