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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Risk and the Five Hard Problems of Cybersecurity

Natalie M Scala, Allison C Reilly, Paul L Goethals, Michel Cukier
Risk Analysis: An Official Publication of the Society for Risk Analysis 2019 March 29
30925207
This perspectives article addresses risk in cyber defense and identifies opportunities to incorporate risk analysis principles into the cybersecurity field. The Science of Security (SoS) initiative at the National Security Agency seeks to further and promote interdisciplinary research in cybersecurity. SoS organizes its research into the Five Hard Problems (5HP): (1) scalability and composability; (2) policy-governed secure collaboration; (3) security-metrics-driven evaluation, design, development, and deployment; (4) resilient architectures; and (5) understanding and accounting for human behavior. However, a vast majority of the research sponsored by SoS does not consider risk and when it does so, only implicitly. Therefore, we identify opportunities for risk analysis in each hard problem and propose approaches to address these objectives. Such collaborations between risk and cybersecurity researchers will enable growth and insight in both fields, as risk analysts may apply existing methodology in a new realm, while the cybersecurity community benefits from accepted practices for describing, quantifying, working with, and mitigating risk.

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