Re: [scap_interest] Checking language needs

Luis Nunez <> Tue, 14 February 2012 20:33 UTC

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From: Luis Nunez <>
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Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 15:33:45 -0500
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To: Karen Scarfone <>
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Subject: Re: [scap_interest] Checking language needs
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This sounds like something that would be helpful is understanding the cooperative aspects of the specifications.  Looking at how these specifications (XCCDF, OVAL,...) interoperate from a relationship standpoint would be usefully and could help others in understanding. One of the toughest issues I have is explaining what SCAPOVALXCCDFCPECCEVECVESS is,  let along how they work in concert.


On Feb 14, 2012, at 3:11 PM, Karen Scarfone wrote:

> Kent,
> I'd be happy to help with the publication/editing side of specification development.
> Karen
> On Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 3:02 PM, <> wrote:
> All,
> One of the missing pieces we have right now is a standardized approach to developing new checking languages.  Within fielded XCCDF-enabled products today there are multiple checking languages in use. One of them grew up with XCCDF (OVAL) and another (OCIL) was developed without much concern for how it might be called and used from XCCDF.  The later's adoption rate has been seriously impacted because of that.  Additionally, vendors have at times introduced their own checking mechanisms to support customer needs that could not be supported with the existing checking languages.  Scripting is also being done directly from XCCDF benchmarks by multiple vendor products.  
> As we are starting to expand security automation uses, it is important we enable innovative approaches to check execution. Not everything can be done using the existing model and existing means.  Continuous monitoring uses are going to require more flexibility by requiring different means to check certain areas than exist today.  Forcing implementers to have to dig thru the XCCDF specification to have to figure out how to properly integrate with it is an inhibitor. We need to foster alternative means so integrating into the the existing security automation architectures and products is not so daunting.  Even in areas where something as simple as scripting is used, I would be very surprised if two existing implementations could execute the same script content because of incompatible implementation approaches.  Yes, OVAL is interoperable today but we need to make sure additional checking languages have that same potential for interoperability.
> From my perspective, the key to the success in fielding a useful framework is assuring the right building blocks are in place.  We need to be able to leverage those building blocks to expand standards based security automation. It is important we document the proper way to develop new checking mechanisms if we are to have content and solutions that interoperate effectively.  By specifying the practices and items  new checking languages need to support, we can expand what is possible with security automation using already fielded tools and environments.
> I am looking for interest here and for those that might want to help me in producing this draft specification.  
> Kent Landfield
> Director Content Strategy, Architecture and Standards
> McAfee | An Intel Company
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> Karen Scarfone, Principal Consultant, Scarfone Cybersecurity
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