REGARD: Rules of EngaGement for Automated cybeR Defense to aid in Intrusion Response

Damodar Panigrahi, William Anderson, Joshua Whitman, Sudip Mittal, Benjamin A Blakely

Automated Intelligent Cyberdefense Agents (AICAs) that are part Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and part Intrusion Response Systems (IRS) are being designed to protect against sophisticated and automated cyber-attacks. An AICA based on the ideas of Self-Adaptive Autonomic Computing Systems (SA-ACS) can be considered as a managing system that protects a managed system like a personal computer, web application, critical infrastructure, etc. An AICA, specifically the IRS components, can compute a wide range of potential responses to meet its security goals and objectives, such as taking actions to prevent the attack from completing, restoring the system to comply with the organizational security policy, containing or confining an attack, attack eradication, deploying forensics measures to enable future attack analysis, counterattack, and so on. To restrict its activities in order to minimize collateral/organizational damage, such an automated system must have set Rules of Engagement (RoE). Automated systems must determine which operations can be completely automated (and when), which actions require human operator confirmation, and which actions must never be undertaken. In this paper, to enable this control functionality over an IRS, we create Rules of EngaGement for Automated cybeR Defense (REGARD) system which holds a set of Rules of Engagement (RoE) to protect the managed system according to the instructions provided by the human operator. These rules help limit the action of the IRS on the managed system in compliance with the recommendations of the domain expert. We provide details of execution, management, operation, and conflict resolution for Rules of Engagement (RoE) to constrain the actions of an automated IRS. We also describe REGARD system implementation, security case studies for cyber defense, and RoE demonstrations.

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