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 Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"When you've got a full-blown security breach on your hands, what do you do? If you've been smart, you'll already have a computer security incident response team -- and a plan -- in place. But many companies are too resource-strapped to have a full-blown, fully-tested incident response strategy." DarkReading proposes six steps on what to do when your security is breached.

1. Assemble an incident response team.

Experts believe that a computer security incident response team (CSIRT) must already be set up even before an event occurs. If a team is not yet in place, the company must create one quickly, and make sure all the stakeholders are there.

2. Assess the initial damage and the risk for more.

"According to BackGrounD Software, a Canadian forensics firm that does security breach damage assessment, the costs of a breach should include not only the technical costs associated with finding and fixing the breach, but also loss of productivity and loss of business. You'll need a plan that not only outlines your strategy for recovering your systems, but that includes steps for recovering customers."

3. Develop a notification plan.

An important decision to be made is who to notify when. Law enforcement, for instance, are contacted first when there is a potential crime involved. Other parties to be notified are customers that might have been affected by the incident and consultants, such as security experts or a computer forensics firm, who must be called in as early as possible.

4. Begin remediating the problem.

It is very important to fully understand the problem and its potential impact before any remediation is done. Otherwise, evidences might be damaged or the problem might aggravate. BackGrounD Software suggests, "disconnect your server(s) from the network, and if there is a potentially malicious code running, disconnect media devices as quickly as possible (i.e. disks, SAN, NAS). You never know how far the intruder has managed to get, so the faster you disconnect the equipment, the more of a chance you have to save your data." The next steps in remediating the problem then depend on the resources and skills available within the team or the company.

5. Document everything.

Experts also stress the importance of documentation as it is often overlooked. Documentation aids in recovering the affected system and in strategizing against future incidents.

6. Develop a strategy for stopping the next attack.

As DarkReading puts it, "if one attacker finds a vulnerability, there's a good chance that he may have accomplices -- or that another attacker might find the same vulnerability." Thus, it is necessary to develop a strategy to block possible holes still existing in the system.

To read the full article, access it here.