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Risk Assessment. Farrokh Alemi, Ph.D. Monday, July 07, 2003. Components of Risk Analysis. EPHI boundary definition Threat identification Vulnerability identification Security control analysis Risk likelihood determination Impact analysis Risk determination

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Risk Assessment

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Risk assessment

Risk Assessment

Farrokh Alemi, Ph.D.

Monday, July 07, 2003


Components of risk analysis

Components of Risk Analysis

  • EPHI boundary definition

  • Threat identification

  • Vulnerability identification

  • Security control analysis

  • Risk likelihood determination

  • Impact analysis

  • Risk determination

  • Security control recommendations

Based on Steve Weil’s recommendations


Step 1 ephi boundary definition

Step 1: EPHI Boundary Definition

  • Inventory of Information system hardware and software details, including:

    • Internal and external interfaces of information systems

    • Identification of the primary users of the information systems and EPHI

    • Basic function and purpose of the EPHI and information system

    • Technical controls (e.g., hardware or software access control mechanisms, encryption) and non technical controls (e.g., security policies, employee training) being used to protect EPHI and information systems


Step 2 threat identification

Step 2: Threat Identification

  • Natural: floods, earthquakes, tornados, etc.

  • Human: unintentional (incorrect data entry or accidental deletion of data) and intentional (denial of service attack, installing malicious software).

  • Environmental: power failures, hazardous material spill, etc.


Step 3 vulnerability identification

Step 3: Vulnerability Identification

  • Vulnerability lists such as the NIST vulnerability database (http://icat.nist.gov)

  • Trace the “footprint”

  • Defined rules of engagement (what time of day the assessments can occur, what types of attacks are appropriate, what systems will be assessed, etc.) BEFORE the assessment begins


Step 4 security control analysis

Step 4: Security Control Analysis

  • Access control

  • Authentication

  • Audit trail

  • Alarm


Step 5 risk likelihood determination

Step 5: Risk Likelihood Determination

  • Three factors should be considered:

    • Threat motivation and capability

    • Type of vulnerability

    • Existence and effectiveness of security controls

  • Numerical rating of risks

    • Frequency

    • Subjective probability

      • Divide and conquer

      • Group consensus

      • Estimate-talk-estimate

      • Upper and lower limits


Step 6 impact analysis

Step 6: Impact Analysis

  • Confidentiality: EPHI is disclosed or accessed in an unauthorized manner

  • Integrity: EPHI is improperly modified

  • Availability: EPHI is unavailable to authorized users


Step 7 risk determination

Step 7: Risk Determination

  • Aggregate risks from individual factors to identify risk for a specific system containing EPHI

    • Under assumptions of independence Bayes formula could be used

      • Posterior odds of security breach is equal to prior odds multiplied by likelihood ratios of each threat


Step 8 security control recommendations

Step 8: Security Control Recommendations

  • Mitigate

  • Eliminate

  • Insure

  • Hedge


Sample surveys

Sample surveys

  • Ontario Privacy Diagnostic Tools

  • HIPAA Compliance Gap Identification

  • EDI risk assessment check list


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