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Re: CoBIT a Security Audit Framework?
From: "SD List" <list () security-database com>
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2008 16:19:57 +0100 (CET)

Hi there,

As for myself, Cobit is not suitable for penetration tests. It has been
designed to give indicators and processes to better cover IT security in
Cobit would say "auditors" or "IT staff" to perform security auditing
using "controls". And one of the best practices (controls) is to apply a
well developped penetration tests methodology. It happens to look that
"OSSTMM" is on the greatest "Pentest" procedure to follow.

Watch out, OSSTMM does not give people techniques to conduct pentests but
what you expect to find during each stage. The techniques are different
from each ethical hacker, auditor to another (or call it whatever you
want). What counts here is the Procedure to follow. When digging for
documents what you expect to find. Now, it is up to you to play with
google or use automated softwares (like Maltego).

So, dont try to map Cobit and Pentests. Cobit is not a technical framework
but global overview. The view from the top of the IT Organization
Security. Penetration tests is just a detail and a little part of
"Security assessment" phase.

Here is a list of some Cobit mappings

And the most suitable for you here is the mapping against NIST SP800-53.
But again, NIST SP800-53 is a set of best practices and requirements to
better develop and apply a security strategy.

Otherwise, i made some searches on Cobit 4.1. And the related topics to
everything security testing or vulnerabilities reviews are :

AI3.3 Infrastructure Maintenance
Develop a strategy and plan for infrastructure maintenance, and ensure
that changes are controlled in line with the organisation’s
change management procedure. Include periodic reviews against business
needs, patch management, upgrade strategies, risks,
vulnerabilities assessment and security requirements.

Chapter DS5 (Deliver and Support)

Especially this point :

DS5.5 Security Testing,Surveillance and Monitoring
Test and monitor the IT security implementation in a proactive way. IT
security should be reaccredited in a timely manner to ensure
that the approved enterprise’s information security baseline is
maintained. A logging and monitoring function will enable the early
prevention and/or detection and subsequent timely reporting of unusual
and/or abnormal activities that may need to be addressed.

Chapter ME (Monitor & Evaluate)

ME2.4 Control Self-assessment
Evaluate the completeness and effectiveness of management’s control over
IT processes, policies and contracts through a continuing
programme of self-assessment

Good Luck

Nabil Ouchn

On Mon, 01 Dec 2008, Jon Kibler wrote:

Hash: SHA1



And what REALLY gets me is that organizations expect you to be able to
do a PEN TEST using CoBIT! When I explain that something like OSSTMM is
a more correct framework for a PEN TEST (or even NIST 800-115 or
800-53A), they don't want to hear it -- its gotta be CoBIT! They have so
many misunderstandings as to what CoBIT is and is not useful for, it is
incredible -- and they are not interested in learning anything

Who / what is driving this "CoBIT is the only acceptable IT Security
audit framework" mentality and what can we do to change it?


I should have been a little more clear on my initial post so
apologies for the second email on this. You're comparing
apples and oranges here. ISECOM's OSSTMM framework is great
for the penetration tester and for the testing methodologies
used, especially for the verification purposes however it is
solely a pentesting framework. Your client is probably under-
clued with the differences and wants to maintain CoBIT
compliance, keeping in tune with the checks and balances of
CoBIT's framework.

If you have the modules' information, they correlate them
for your client on how you will match them up so they can
understand the difference in your testing and how it maps
into the CoBIT framework. In either case of whatever a
company is choosing, there will be overlap, there will be
one over the other, but the bottom line for those asking
for it is likely a need to maintain compliance with the
CoBIT framework. It is a lot more than meets the eye and
is well structured on the information security scale to
both macro and micro manage many portions of security

Irrespective of the testing methodologies used, there is
one end result and its this result that is likely what
your client is worried about. Cobit maps most of the
given frameworks and models and exceeds a lot of them,
when you understand it a little better, you'll likely
see the disconnect in someone asking for a pentest to
help make sure the company is CoBIT compliant:

Search ISACA for the term mapping it will give you a
clearer picture of the mappings and overlap with the


J. Oquendo

"Each player must accept the cards life deals him
or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone
must decide how to play the cards in order to win
the game." Voltaire

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