Discovering “unknown known” security requirements

Rashid, Awais and Naqvi, Asad and Ramdhany, Rajiv and Edwards, Matthew and Chitchyan, Ruzanna and Ali Babar, Muhammad (2016) Discovering “unknown known” security requirements. In: ICSE '16 Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering Austin, TX, May 14 - 22, 2016. ACM, New York, pp. 866-876. ISBN 9781450339001

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Security is one of the biggest challenges facing organisations in the modern hyper-connected world. A number of theoretical security models are available that provide best practice security guidelines and are widely utilised as a basis to identify and operationalise security requirements. Such models often capture high-level security concepts (e.g., whitelisting, secure configurations, wireless access control, data recovery, etc.), strategies for operationalising such concepts through specific security controls, and relationships between the various concepts and controls. The threat landscape, however, evolves leading to new tacit knowledge that is embedded in or across a variety of security incidents. These unknown knowns alter, or at least demand reconsideration of the theoretical security models underpinning security requirements. In this paper, we present an approach to discover such unknown knowns through multi-incident analysis. The approach is based on a novel combination of grounded theory and incident fault trees. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach through its application to identify revisions to a theoretical security model widely used in industry.

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04 Feb 2016 11:00
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 03:56