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Covert Channel

A channel of communication within a computer system, or network, that is not designed or intended to transfer information. The means by which data can be communicated outside of normal, expected, or detectable methods. Unintended and/or unauthorized communications path that can be used to transfer information in a manner that violates an information system security policy. (. See overt channel and exploitable channel. )


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<p>FIPS 140-2, Security Requirements for Cryptographic Modules, May 2001.</p><p>This term refers to the accreditation used to distinguish between secure and well-established crypto modules produced in the private sector. It stands as a certification for those producers who need them to be used in regulated industries that typically collect, store, transfer, and share data that is deemed to be sensitive in nature but not classified.<br></p><p>FIPS 140-2 defines four levels of security, simply named "Level 1" to "Level 4". It does not specify in detail what level of security is required by any particular application.</p><p>Level 1<br>Security Level 1 provides the lowest level of security. Basic security requirements are specified for a cryptographic module (e.g., at least one Approved algorithm or Approved security function shall be used). No specific physical security mechanisms are required in a Security Level 1 cryptographic module beyond the basic requirement for production-grade components. An example of a Security Level 1 cryptographic module is a personal computer (PC) encryption board.</p><p>Level 2<br>Security Level 2 improves upon the physical security mechanisms of a Security Level 1 cryptographic module by requiring features that show evidence of tampering, including tamper-evident coatings or seals that must be broken to attain physical access to the plaintext cryptographic keys and critical security parameters (CSPs) within the module, or pick-resistant locks on covers or doors to protect against unauthorized physical access.</p><p>Level 3<br>In addition to the tamper-evident physical security mechanisms required at Security Level 2, Security Level 3 attempts to prevent the intruder from gaining access to CSPs held within the cryptographic module. Physical security mechanisms required at Security Level 3 are intended to have a high probability of detecting and responding to attempts at physical access, use or modification of the cryptographic module. The physical security mechanisms may include the use of strong enclosures and tamper-detection/response circuitry that zeroes all plaintext CSPs when the removable covers/doors of the cryptographic module are opened</p><p>Level 4<br>Security Level 4 provides the highest level of security. At this security level, the physical security mechanisms provide a complete envelope of protection around the cryptographic module with the intent of detecting and responding to all unauthorized attempts at physical access. Penetration of the cryptographic module enclosure from any direction has a very high probability of being detected, resulting in the immediate deletion of all plaintext CSPs.<br>Security Level 4 cryptographic modules are useful for operation in physically unprotected environments. Security Level 4 also protects a cryptographic module against a security compromise due to environmental conditions or fluctuations outside of the module's normal operating ranges for voltage and temperature. Intentional excursions beyond the normal operating ranges may be used by an attacker to thwart a cryptographic module's defenses. A cryptographic module is required to either include special environmental protection features designed to detect fluctuations and delete CSPs, or to undergo rigorous environmental failure testing to provide a reasonable assurance that the module will not be affected by fluctuations outside of the normal operating range in a manner that can compromise the security of the module.</p>
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An obvious, visible, detectable, known method of communicating that is addressed by a security policy and subsequently controlled by logical or technical access controls. Communications path within a computer system or network designed for the authorized transfer of data. (. See covert channel. )
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A channel that conveys information by writing data to a common storage area where another process can read it. A covert channel that involves the direct or indirect writing of a storage location by one process and the direct or indirect reading of the storage location by another process. Covert storage channels typically involve a finite resource that is shared by two subjects at different security levels. Covert channel involving the direct or indirect writing to a storage location by one process and the direct or indirect reading of the storage location by another process. Covert storage channels typically involve a finite resource (e. g. , sectors on a disk) that is shared by two subjects at different security levels.
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Channel that allows the violation of the security policy governing an information system and is usable or detectable by subjects external to the trusted computing base. (. See covert channel. )
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A channel that conveys information by altering the performance of a system component or modifying a resource’s timing in a predictable manner. A covert channel in which one process signals information to another by modulating its own use of system resources in such a way that this manipulation affects the real response time observed by the second process. Covert channel in which one process signals information to another process by modulating its own use of system resources (e. g. , central processing unit time) in such a way that this manipulation affects the real response time observed by the second process.
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