II.C.12     Malware Mitigation

Attackers use malware to obtain access to an institution's environment and to execute an attack within the environment. Malware may enter through public or private networks and from devices attached to the network. Although protective mechanisms may block most malware before it does damage, even a single malicious executableIn computing, an executable is a file or a program that is able to be run by a computer. may create a significant potential for loss.

Management should implement defense-in-depth to protect, detect, and respond to malware. The institution can use many tools to block malware before it enters the environment and to detect it and respond if it is not blocked. Methods or systems that management should consider include the following:

  • Hardware-based roots of trust, which use cryptographic means to verify the integrity of software.
  • Servers that run active content at the gateway and disallow content based on policy.
  • Blacklists that disallow code execution based on code fragments, Internet locations, and other factors that correlate with malicious code.
  • White lists of allowed programs.
  • Port monitoring to identify unauthorized network connections.
  • Network segregation.
  • Computer configuration to permit the least amount of privileges necessary to perform the user's job.
  • Application sandboxing.Sandboxing is the use of a restricted, controlled execution environment that prevents potentially malicious software, such as mobile code, from accessing any system resources except those for which the software is authorized to limit the access and functionality of executed code.
  • Monitoring for unauthorized software and disallowing the ability to install unauthorized software.
  • Monitoring for anomalous activity for malware and polymorphic code.
  • Monitoring of network traffic.
  • User education in awareness, safe computing practices, indicators of malicious code, and response actions.


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II.C.11 End-of-Life Management
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II.C.13 Control of Information