With the advent of collaborative Protection Profiles (e.g., the NDcPP), a greater emphasis has been given to the vulnerability analysis requirements required as part of a product evaluation. Vulnerability analysis is a subset of risk management that involves looking at the system elements and layout and their failure modes based on a given set of threats. The vulnerability assessment answers the basic question, what can go wrong should the system be exposed to threats and hazards of concern?
Acumen sincerely believes that vulnerability analysis is a critical part of the certification process and a step forwards towards making sure that the product is built as per the best security standards and practices. The process usually starts with initial reconnaissance (Identifying the system components e.g.: software versions running on the system, Discover open ports and access points, Fingerprint the operating system etc.) and hence moving towards finding vulnerabilities and finally to exploitation.
We interpret system configuration settings by first understanding the overall architecture of the system and the role the device holds within an infrastructure. Armed with this information, we can then analyze the device configuration against industry best practices and hardening techniques. Our manual analysis strives to identify exposure and breach-response capabilities by looking at logging and alerting abilities, compensating controls, system roles, and defense best practices.
The process is usually targeted towards the following objectives –
Implementation of existing minimum security baseline.
Does the system configuration adhere to industry standards and best practices?
Use of protocols known to be insecure.
Up to date releases and known vulnerabilities.
Does the device configuration match its specified role?
“Who, what, when, where, and why” regarding system access.
Finally towards the end of this phase, these vulnerabilities are classified as follows –
• Very High: This is a high profile vulnerability that provides a very attractive target for potential adversaries, and the level of deterrence and/or defense provided by the existing countermeasures is inadequate.
• High: This is also considered as high profile vulnerability with a crucial impact on the security of the products.
• Moderate: This is a moderate profile vulnerability that provides a potential target and/or the level of deterrence and/or defense provided by the existing countermeasures is marginally adequate.
• Low: This is not a high profile vulnerability and provides a possible target and/or the level of deterrence and/or defense provided by the existing countermeasures is adequate.

All the products evaluated against the NDcPP (and various other PPs) will need to go through this additional vulnerability analysis process ensuring much more level of confidence towards the security level of the products.