Information Assurance (IA) can be referred to as the process that involves in the management of perils that are closely related to the usage, processing, storage and electronic transfers of information. This field has been birthed by information security, a field in computer security. Information Assurance is aimed at availability, authentication, non-repudiation, integrity and confidentiality of information and information systems thus serving as a defense and protection turf for electronic information.
The process of Information Assurance commences with the act of specifying and classifying the assets of the information to be protected. This process of information specification and classification is done objectively taking into contemplation the nature, source and the purpose of the information in focus. This is followed by risk assessment that is done by Information Assurance practitioner who has to put into consideration the likelihood and the impact of the undesired actions that may negatively affect the disclosure of the information in storage to unauthorized individuals.
It is at this stage that the both qualitative and the quantitative value of the risk in relation to the current situation and predictable hazard is determined. Moreover, the IA practitioner develops a risk management plan that puts forward the countermeasures that can probably mitigate, accept, eliminate or transfer the risks. The plans also puts into consideration the detection, prevention and response towards the emergent or prospective perils (Qian, Tipper, Krishnamurthy, 2008). During the plan development, various frame works can be employed such as ISO 17799, PCIDSS, ISO/IEC 27002 or CobiT.
Procedures and policies such as frequent data and information backups and configuration hardening, installation of anti-virus programs and firewalls are among the countermeasures that can be used. Other activities included as countermeasures are trainings and the restructuring of the computer network systems which put in place computer emergence response team (CERT) or computer security incident response team (CSIRT). These countermeasures aim at managing, extenuating or totally eliminating the forthcoming risks in the most cost-effective manner.
Later, implementation, testing and evaluation of the plan are undertaken through various designed methodologies such as formal audits. An overhaul, known as the service integrity service is put in place to protect the resources of the system from accidental unwarranted change, destruction or loss (Rogers, 2004). The system’s authenticator, also referred to as the system administrator, bears the entire authorization mandate and it is only through his certification and accreditation that a third party or any other person can access the information in store.
In addition, liaison of the authenticator with the user representative and the program manager grants equal access rights to the protected information. The above three officials also have to decide agreeably on the most appropriate approaches to be instituted in an attempt to meet all the information security prerequisites. Once they have identified these methodologies, they also highlight on the security remedies that are satisfying. The authenticator’s leadership, these information system officials are bestowed with the obligation to oversee the activities of the information system security.
So as to be able to access the information in the system, the authenticator has to issue a declaration indicating that approval has been granted to the any alleged declaration holder to operate the automated information system (AIS). Included in this declaration are the sets of standardized rules and regulations that must be adhered to the latter by all users having the right of access to the stored information. These prescriptions are aimed at safeguarding the information in store and the Automated Information System at large.
Besides this declaration, data security can be ensured by the use of logins, passwords and digital certificates which are specifically issued to those users who are sanctioned (May, et al, 2004). The former is not so much campaigned for but instead, the latter and the use of biometric techniques such as voice and fingerprints as regarded as more secluded methods. Computer information attackers have devised ways to overwrite and also override these login passwords and as a result, this safety methodology is rarely relied upon.
Once authentication has been granted, encryption of the sensitive data is done to avert it from eavesdropping and other related computer information crimes. During the process of authentication personal information is gathered and entered into the automated system which aids in the person’s identification. As a result, the party is issued with a credential. This credential validates the user identity claim when he/she is accessing the controlled and protected assets or information. In pursuit to ensure more safety over the stored information, multi-factor authentication has been employed.
The multi-factor authentication process is subject to various environments and other technological rudiments and varies depending on these two aspects (Department of the Army, 2007). These techniques may include network architecture controls, remote network access, network sniffers and securing network ports. Failure to conform to or adopt any of the above mentioned authentication methodologies will expose the stored data to computer information systems defaulters who can craftily bypass weak technical controls.
Consequently, they distort the information. This distortion may vary from mere acts such as modifying the main memory’s information after having read it to causing notable and probably irreversible behavior of the schedulers which are finally associated with the crashing of the entire information systems with large volumes data loss. In addition the can disable the firewall module packet filtering by transforming the image such that the agent’s in-memory store code starts working inappropriately (Larry, 2009).
This may render the agent disabled from accessing the system. Once automated information attacker gains this unauthorized opportunity to access to the clients’ information he has the freedom to perform dynamic data modifications. Besides, he can access the system management memory (SMM) handler. The end result of this will be a system management random access memory (SMRAM) cache-based attack. Computer information criminals also alter the information system’s operating codes.
Moreover, they can access client’s personal and confidential details such personal identification numbers and probably financial institution’s information thus ending up in a big loss in their finances. National and scientific databases have been prepared and managed by the governments of various states. Moreover, academic organizations and research institutions are also reliable. However, these stakeholders have to take keen attention during the auditing of the information, especially those received from partnerships with other organizations to avoid errors that may be disastrous in the future.
In information assurance, the information flowing in the associated institutions should be confidential as earlier said and also the information’s integrity should be well safeguarded. In ensuring that the information meets these prerequisites, the British standards well implemented. Information assurance standards are also published a template in the IA website. Moreover, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) site contains these standards which are also coordinated with the MCNOSC.
Therefore in conclusion, information assurance can be basically taken to mean the information operations (IO) aimed at information and information systems (IS) protection. This is achieved through the information assurance standards that see the achievement of information availability, its integrity, confidentiality, authentication and non-repudiation. The realization of these standards ensure the refurbishment of IS through the amalgamation of restoration, detection, fortification and reaction competences