CMP 610 Vulnerability Assessment Worksheet
Step 1: Define Vulnerabilities, Threats, and Risks
Vulnerabilities, threats, and risks are important to understand in order to evaluate and ultimately improve security posture by mitigating risks. Your organization’s security posture will determine its cybersecurity policies. Assessing risk is key in this process.
Define vulnerability, threat, and risk. Consider their relationship to one another and how they relate to the security of networks and data.
You will use this information to complete your vulnerability assessment. Review topics as needed from previous projects: creating a program, systems, utilities, and applications software, and interaction of software.
Step 2: Identify Examples of Vulnerabilities, Threats, and Risks
In the previous step, you familiarized yourself with the concepts of vulnerability, threat, and risk. You now understand their relationship to one another and how they relate to security. In this step, you are going to identify at least two examples of a vulnerability, two examples of a threat, and two examples of a risk in each of the following categories:
people (human factors)
Identify a minimum of 18 examples. This will assist you in conducting the vulnerability assessment and developing the educational brochure. Review topics such as basic elements of communication and computer networks.
In the next step, you will look more closely at current vulnerabilities and threats.
Step 3: Identify Current Vulnerabilities and Threats
After defining and identifying examples of vulnerabilities, threats, and risks in the first two steps, you should understand the basic concepts of vulnerabilities and threats as they apply to general cybersecurity. However, vulnerabilities and threats are dynamic: They can evolve with changes in technologies, changes in adversary capabilities or intentions, or changes in human behaviors and organizational policies.
It is important to understand current vulnerabilities and threats and their applicability to the larger community as well as to your organization (e.g., critical infrastructure protection), so that you can make informed recommendations on how/whether to mitigate them. Identify current known vulnerabilities and threats that could affect your organization. The vulnerabilities and threats that you identify will be necessary for your final presentation.
List a minimum of two current known vulnerabilities and threats involving the following:
people (human factors)
When complete, move to the next step, where you will take part in a simulation.
Step 4: Vulnerability Assessment and Operational Security eLearning Module
To prepare for the upcoming vulnerability assessment, you will practice in a simulated environment with the Vulnerability Assessment and Operational Security eLearning Module (https://coursecontent.umgc.edu/umgc/cit/cmp/cmp610/vulnerability-assessment-and-operational-security/index.html). You will learn how to maintain effective audit, risk analysis, and vulnerability assessment practices in a fictional scenario. You will also review risk and vulnerability analysis tools. You may want to review some topics from earlier projects: network devices and cables and network protocols.
Take notes during the simulation as the information will be helpful during your own vulnerability assessment in Step 7. Specifically note the major components of cybersecurity architecture, architectural methodologies for the physical structure of a system’s internal operations and interactions with other systems, and architectural methodology standards that are compliant with established standards or guidelines.
When you have completed the simulation, move to the next step, when you will consider attack vectors.
Step 5: Identify Attack Vectors
Attack vectors are the means by which vulnerabilities are exploited and threats realized. As a result, understanding attack vectors is critical to developing impactful mitigations. Identify applicable attack vectors, the weaknesses exploited, and the means used to gain access based on the vulnerabilities and threats identified in Step 2. Also, note the common types of cyberattacks.
The attack vectors and weaknesses that you identify will be necessary for your vulnerability assessment and final presentation. You may want to review some topics from earlier projects: a closer look at the World Wide Web web markup languages, and web and internet services.
Identify attack vectors and weaknesses exploited via the following:
In the next step, you will take a closer look at the importance of attribution.
Step 6: Examine and Identify Known Attributes
Attribution is often difficult, if not impossible, to identify. One reason is the anonymity afforded by the internet. Another reason is the potential sophistication of malicious state actors and non-state actors who are able to disguise themselves and/or exploit an innocent and often unknowing computer users to achieve their goals.
Attribution is desired because knowing who is behind an exploit can provide insight into the motivations, intentions, and capabilities of threat actors. Understanding attack vectors used by threat actors provides key insights that help to build stronger defenses and construct better policy management.
To complete your vulnerability assessment, you will need to first do the following:
From the attack vectors identified in the previous step, determine if attribution is known for the threat actor (e.g., name of nation-state, nonstate and/or hackers and threat actors) most likely involved in exploiting each weakness.
Categorize the threat actor(s) based on attribution for previous exploits, likely targets, and rationale(s) for targeting/exploitation (e.g., profit, political statements, extortion, etc.).
In the next step, you will compile your findings from the past few steps on a spreadsheet.
Step 7: Submit a Vulnerability Assessment Spreadsheet
From the results of Steps 4, 5, and 6, develop and submit a spreadsheet that includes the following:
characterization of current and emerging vulnerabilities and threats
identification of the attack vector(s) employed against each
your assessment (high, medium, or low) of the impact the vulnerability could have on your organization
Make sure to address security architectures, including components, specifications, guidelines, standards, technologies, etc. Also consider international threats and attack vectors. This assessment will be included in your final presentation.