Security and Online Privacy Regulations  Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

" (Muntenu, 2004)

According to Muntenu (2004) "It is almost impossible for a security analyst with only technical background to quantify security risk for intangible assets. He can perform a quantitative or qualitative evaluation using dedicated software to improve the security of the information systems, but not a complete risk assessment for the whole information system. Qualitative assessment based on questionnaires use in fact statistical quantitative methods to obtain results. Statistical estimation represents the basis for quantitative models." Muntenu states conclusion that in each of these approaches the "moral hazard of the analyst has influence on the results because human nature is subjective. He must use a sliding window approach according to business and information systems features, balancing from qualitative to quantitative assessment." (2004) qualitative study of information systems security is reported in a study conducted in U.S. academic institutions in the work of Steffani a. Burd, Principal Investigator for Information Security in Academic Institutions in a project funded by the United States Department of Justice for the National Institute of Justice reports in the Impact of Information Security in Academic Institution on Public Safety and Security in the United States (2005-2006) that "despite the critical information security issues faced by academic institutions, little research has been conducted at the policy, practice, or theoretical levels to address these issues, and few policies or cost-effective controls have been developed." (Burd, 2005-2006) the following are next listed:

1) the profile of issues and approaches, 2) to develop a practical road map for policy and practice, and 3) to advance the knowledge, policy, and practice of academic institutions, law enforcement, government and researchers.

In this study reported the design was on that incorporated three different methods of data collection, which included:

1) Quantitative field survey;

2) Qualitative one-on-one interviews, and 3) an empirical assessment of the institutions' network activity. (Burd, 2005-2006)

This study reports data collection specifically to have involved data collection in what was a simple random sampling of 600 academic institutions from the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) database. Recruitment is reported to have been through use of postcard, telephone, and email including Web-based survey administration, and three follow-ups. Survey data collection is reported as having involved "simple random sampling of 600 academic institutions from the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) database, recruitment via postcard, telephone, and email, Web-based survey administration, and three follow-ups." (Burd, 2005-2006) it is reported that network data collection involved "convenience sampling of two academic institutions, recruitment via telephone and email, installing Higher Education Network Analysis, recruitment via telephone and email, installing Higher Education Network Analysis (HENA) on participants systems and six months of data collection." (Burd, 2005-2006)

Network security is defined in this study as involving 'the protection of networks and their services from unauthorized modification, destruction or disclosure. Network security provides assurance that a network performs its critical functions correctly and there are no harmful side effects." (Burd, 2005-2006) This study states that for the purposes of the interview that was administered that vulnerability was defined as "the potential for a compromise of the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of the institution's network or information..." that may be "exploited by "outsiders" including students, faculty or staff. The section of the interview labeled 'Institution's Potential Vulnerability' asked the participants the questions as follows:

1) What do you consider are the top three vulnerabilities at your institution? (These responses were written into three provided spaces in the questionnaire.

2) Do you believe these top three areas of vulnerability at your institution are different from those of other universities? Answer options provided were:

a) yes;

b) no; and not sure.

3) Participants were asked to state on a scale 1-7 (with 1 is 'no' vulnerability and 7 is critical vulnerability) how they would rate the overall level of vulnerability in maintaining the security of the institution's network.

4) Participants were asked based on their observations whether they predict that the vulnerability of their institution in maintaining its network security in the upcoming one to three years will:

a) increase the upcoming 1-3 years;

b) decrease in the upcoming 1-3 years;

remain the same in the upcoming 1-3 years; or d) not sure. (Burd, 2005-2006)

In the next section of the interview entitled "Institutions Potential Threat' it is reported that for the purpose of this interview that 'threat' is defined "as the potential your institution's network may pose to compromising individuals, organizations, or critical infrastructure including;

Threats to individuals may include identity theft, credit card fraud, and spam;

Threats to organizations may include theft or disclosure of information, dedicated denial of services (DDOS) against specific organizations, worms, viruses, or spam;

Threats to critical infrastructure may include DDOS to SCADA and communication systems or compromise of sensitive or classified information, including research and development (e.g., DARPA, HASARPA). (Burd, 2005-2006)

The interview reported by Burd (2005-2006) asks the following questions in this section of the interview:

1) Based on your institution's information security posture, which of the following are ways your institution may pose a threat to individuals, other organizations, or critical infrastructure? (Please check all that apply.)

Attacking critical infrastructure (e.g,. DDOS on SCADA, communications) attacking specific organizations (e.g., DDOS, virus, worms, bots)

Phishing scams

Stealing individuals' private information (e.g., for identity theft / credit card fraud)

Stealing intellectual property (e.g., R&D, patents)

Spam/spim

Spreading malware (e.g., viruses, worms, blended threats)

Unauthorized use of bandwidth

Other (please specify)

Not sure (Burd, 2005-2006)

The following questions were rated on a scale of 1 to 7 with 1 being no threat and 7 being a Sure Threat:

2) What do you believe is the current level of potential threat that the institution may pose in compromising individuals?

3) What do you believe is the current level of potential threat that the institution may pose in compromising other organizations?

4) What do you believe is the current level of potential threat that your institution may pose in compromising critical infrastructure? (Burd, 2005-2006)

It is reported that for the purposes of this interview that 'information' includes research and private data. Research data is stated as technical, medical and government related data and private data includes social security number, drivers license number, date of birth, and medical data. Specifically stated is: "It may be resident on the network or in transit. It includes data located in the centralized network as well as on departmental and individual computers." (Burd, 2005-2006) Value is stated to address "the monetary and non-monetary aspects of information, including costs associated with creating the information losses due to compromised information, recovery costs, and implications of compromise (e.g., reputation damage, law suits).Questions asked in this section of the survey entitled: "Information Sharing and Value" include the following:

1) What do you consider to be the three most valuable types of information at your institution? Participants were asked the responses in this question as follows:

most valuable second-most valuable third most valuable" the following information:

Grades, evaluations and recommendations

Private identifying data (e.g., social security number, drivers license, date of birth)

Private financial data (e.g., credit history, credit card information, family's finances)

Private medical data

Institution intellectual property (e.g., coursework, distance learning, articles)

Institution research data (e.g., technical, medical, government-related)

SCADA and communications data

Other (please specify)

Burd, 2005-2006)

2) Why do you consider this information to be the most valuable at your institution? For providing answers the participants were asked to write their answer in blanks that were provided. (Burd, 2005-2006)

3) With which government agencies, if any, do you share sensitive information?

DARPA/HSARPA

REN-ISAC

SEVIS

US-CERT

Other (please specify)

None of the above Not sure (Burd, 2005-2006)

4) Which methods do you use to secure sensitive information at your institution?

Identity management

Internal firewall

Physical separation

Role-based access control

Other (please specify)

None of the above Not sure (Burd, 2005-2006)

5) Which methods do you use, if any, to share sensitive information with government organizations?

Email (encrypted)

Email (unencrypted)

FTPHTTP

HTTPS

VPN (SSL or IPSec)

Other (please specify)

None of the above Not sure (Burd, 2005-2006)

6) Which vetting procedures, if any do you use for it staff who handle sensitive information?

Reference check - sometimes

Reference check - always

Criminal background check - sometimes

Criminal background check - always (Burd, 2005-2006)

7) Which vetting procedures, if any do you use for administrative staff who handle sensitive information?

For the purpose of this study 'end user' is described as "any individual who accesses information at your institution including the following:

1) Students (full- and part-time, on-campus and off-campus)

2) Faculty (both full-time and part-time; on campus and off campus)

3) Staff (both full-time and part-time; on-campus and off-campus); and 4) Affiliates (contractors, visitors, library users, alumni) (Burd, 2005-2006)

Questions in this section of the study entitled: 'included those as follows:

1) What are the key issues you encounter with end…

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