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Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)

A US law passed in 2002 that requires that federal agencies implement an information security program that covers the agency’s operations. FISMA also requires that government agencies include the activities of contractors in their security management programs.


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A law that mandates that government agencies maintain only records that are necessary to conduct their business and destroy those records when they are no longer needed for a legitimate function of government. It provides a formal procedure for individuals to gain access to records the government maintains about them and to request that incorrect records be amended. The Privacy Act also restricts the way the federal government can deal with private information about individual citizens. The federal law that allows individuals to know what information about them is on file and how it is used by all government agencies and their contractors. The 1986 Electronic Communication Act is an extension of the Privacy Act.
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Any information system (including any telecommunications system) used or operated by an agency or by a contractor of any agency, or other organization on behalf of an agency, the function, operation, or use of which: I. involves intelligence activities; II. Involves cryptologic activities related to national security; III. Involves command and control of military forces; IV. Involves equipment that is an integral part of a weapon or weapon system; or V. subject to subparagraph (B), is critical to the direct fulfillment of military or intelligence missions; or is protected at all times by procedures established for information that have been specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive Order or an Act of Congress to be kept classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy. (B). Does not include a system that is to be used for routine administrative and business applications (including payroll, finance, logistics, and personnel management applications). (Title 44 U. S. Code Section 3542, Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002. )Any information system (including any telecommunications system) used or operated by an organization or by a contractor of the organization, or by other organization on behalf of the organization: (1) the function, operation, or use of which involves intelligence activities; involves cryptologic activities related to national security; involves command and control of military forces; involves equipment that is an integral part of a weapon or weapons system; or is critical to the direct fulfillment of military or intelligence missions (excluding a system that is to be used for routine administrative and business applications, for example, payroll, finance, logistics, and personnel management applications); or (2) is protected at all times by procedures established for information that have been specifically authorized under criteria estab
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The Counterfeit Access Device and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 outlaws unauthorized access to the federal government’s computers and financial databases as protected under the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978 and the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1971. This Act is an amendation of the 1984 Federal Computer Fraud Act.
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Regulations that cover a range of topics from procedures to be used within a federal agency to immigration policies that will be used to enforce the laws passed by Congress. Administrative law is published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
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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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