Incident Detection

Model | Operations | Incident Management | Incident Detection

Benefit

Ability to detect the most obvious security incidents

Activity

Analyze available log data (e.g., access logs, application logs, infrastructure logs), to detect possible security incidents in accordance with known log data retention periods.

In small setups, you can do this manually with the help of common command-line tools. With larger log volumes, employ automation techniques. Even a cron job, running a simple script to look for suspicious events, is a step forward!

If you send logs from different sources to a dedicated log aggregation system, analyze the logs there and employ basic log correlation principles.

Even if you don’t have a 24/7 incident detection process, ensure that unavailability of the responsible person (e.g., due to vacation or illness) doesn’t significantly impact detection speed or quality.

Establish and share points of contact for formal creation of security incidents.

Question

Do you analyze log data for security incidents periodically?

Quality criteria

You have a contact point for the creation of security incidents
You analyze data in accordance with the log data retention periods
The frequency of this analysis is aligned with the criticality of your applications

Answers

No
Yes, for some applications
Yes, for at least half of the applications
Yes, for most or all of the applications

Benefit

Timely and consistent detection of expected security incidents

Activity

Establish a dedicated owner for the incident detection process, make clear documentation accessible to all process stakeholders, and ensure it is regularly reviewed and updated as necessary. Ensure employees responsible for incident detection follow this process (e.g., using training).

The process typically relies on a high degree of automation, collecting and correlating log data from different sources, including application logs. You may aggregate logs in a central place, if suitable. Periodically verify the integrity of analyzed data. If you add a new application, ensure the process covers it within a reasonable period of time.

Detect possible security incidents using an available checklist. The checklist should cover expected attack vectors and known or expected kill chains. Evaluate and update it regularly.

When you determine an event is a security incident (with sufficiently high confidence), notify responsible staff immediately, even outside business hours. Perform further analysis, as appropriate, and start the escalation process.

Question

Do you follow a documented process for incident detection?

Quality criteria

The process has a dedicated owner
You store process documentation in an accessible location
The process considers an escalation path for further analysis
You train employees responsible for incident detection in this process
You have a checklist of potential attacks to simplify incident detection

Answers

No
Yes, for some applications
Yes, for at least half of the applications
Yes, for most or all of the applications

Benefit

Ability to timely detect security incidents

Activity

Ensure process documentation includes measures for continuous process improvement. Check the continuity of process improvement (e.g., via tracking of changes).

Ensure the checklist for suspicious event detection is correlated at least from (i) sources and knowledge bases external to the company (e.g., new vulnerability announcements affecting the used technologies), (ii) past security incidents, and (iii) threat model outcomes.

Use correlation of logs for incident detection for all reasonable incident scenarios. If the log data for incident detection is not available, document its absence as a defect, triage and handle it according to your established Defect Management process.

The quality of the incident detection does not depend on the time or day of the event. If security events are not acknowledged and resolved within a specified time (e.g., 20 minutes), ensure further notifications are generated according to an established escalation path.

Question

Do you review and update the incident detection process regularly?

Quality criteria

You perform reviews at least annually
You update the checklist of potential attacks with external and internal data

Answers

No
Yes, for some applications
Yes, for at least half of the applications
Yes, for most or all of the applications