An Analysis of Whitelisting Security Solutions and Their Applicability in Control Systems

Overview:

Whitelisting is described by its advocates as "the next great thing" that will displace anti-virus technologies as the host intrusion prevention technology of choice. Anti-virus has a checkered history in operations networks and control systems – many people have horror stories of how they installed anti-virus and so impaired their test system that they simply couldn't trust deploying it in production.

While anti-virus systems detect "bad" files that match signatures of known malware, whitelisting technologies identify "good" executables on a host and refuse to execute unauthorized or modified executables, presumably because such executables may contain malware. This is a least privilege approach of denying everything that is not specifically approved.

In this paper the Industrial Defender team performs an independent analysis of a variety of whitelisting solutions for their applicability to control systems. The paper closes with some recommendations related to this technology and areas for further research.

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Author: Andrew Ginter, ISP, CIPS, CISSP, Chief Security Officer, Industrial Defender, Inc.  | File Type: PDF

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