Information Assurance (IA): Information Assurance (IA) is the study of how to protect your information assets from destruction, degradation, manipulation and exploitation. But also, how to recover should any of those happen.

Information operations that protect and defend information and information systems by ensuring their availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation. This includes providing for restoration of information systems by incorporating protection, detection, and reaction capabilities.

Information Assurance (IA) technologies are introduced to not only prevent information from being disclosed, modified or destroyed, but also detect intrusions and operate through attacks in such a way that a certain level of information security can be ensured in the presence of attacks.

Actions taken that protect and defend information and information systems by ensuring their availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality and non-repudiation. This includes providing for restoration of information systems by incorporating protection, detection and reaction capabilities.

Availability: timely, reliable access to data and information services for authorized users;

Integrity: protection against unauthorized modification or destruction of information;

Confidentiality: assurance that information is not disclosed to unauthorized persons;

Authentication: security measures to establish the validity of a transmission, message, or originator. Non-repudiation: assurance that the sender is provided with proof of a data delivery and recipient is provided with proof of the sender’s identity, so that neither can later deny having processed the data.

IA has four major categories:

Physical security: It refers to the protection of hardware, software, and data against physical threats to reduce or prevent disruptions to operations and services and loss of assets.

Personnel security: It is a variety of ongoing measures taken to reduce the likelihood and severity of accidental and intentional alteration, destruction, misappropriation, misuse, misconfiguration, unauthorized distribution, and unavailability of an organization’s logical and physical assets, as the result of action or inaction by insiders and known outsiders, such as business partners.

IT security: It is the inherent technical features and functions that collectively contribute to an IT infrastructure achieving and sustaining confidentiality, integrity, availability, accountability, authenticity, and reliability.

Operational security: It involves the implementation of standard operational security procedures that define the nature and frequency of the interaction between users, systems, and system resources.

 

Components of IA:

IA can be thought of as protecting information at three distinct levels:

physical: data and data processing activities in physical space;

information infrastructure: information and data manipulation abilities in cyberspace;

perceptual: knowledge and understanding in human decision space.

IA Levels 1: the Physical

The lowest level focus of IA is the physical level: computers, physical networks, telecommunications and supporting systems such as power, facilities and environmental controls. Also at this level are the people who manage the systems.

Desired Effects: to affect the technical performance and the capability of physical systems, to disrupt the capabilities of the defender.

Attacker’s Operations: physical attack and destruction, including: electromagnetic attack, visual spying, intrusion, scavenging and removal, wiretapping, interference, and eavesdropping.

Defender’s Operations: physical security etc.

IA Levels 2: Infrastructure

The second level focus of IA is the information structure level. This covers information and data manipulation ability maintained in cyberspace, including: data structures, processes and programs, protocols, data content and databases. Desired Effects: to influence the effectiveness and performance of information functions supporting perception, decision making, and control of physical processes.

Attacker’s Operations: impersonation, piggybacking, spoofing, network attacks, malware, authorization attacks, active misuse, and denial of service attacks.

Defender’s Operations: information security technical measures such as: encryption and key management, intrusion detection, anti-virus software, auditing, redundancy, firewalls, policies and standards.

IA Levels 3: Perceptual

 

The third level focus of IA is the perceptual level, also called social engineering. This is abstract and concerned with the management of perceptions of the target, particularly those persons making security decisions. Desired Effects: to influence decisions and behaviours.

Attacker’s Operations: psychological operations such as deception, blackmail, bribery and corruption, social engineering, trademark and copyright infringement, defamation, diplomacy, creating distrust.

Defender’s Operations: personnel security including psychological testing, education, and screening such as biometrics, watermarks, keys, passwords.