Project managers ensure that software security risk mitigations called out in the Project Protection Plan for space flight software are verified and validated as part of the project’s development activities. The verification and validation (V&V) of these mitigations are included in the project’s planned V&V activities, reflected in the project’s V&V plans, and carried out throughout the project life cycle.
When planning V&V for required software security risk mitigations, the following are useful source documents within the project and from the Information System Security Officer (ISSO):
- System level risk assessment report.
- Plan of actions and milestones (POA&M). (POA&M serves as the NASA management tool to address, report, resolve, and remediate security-related weaknesses, both at the information system-level and program-level).
Examples of the type of information found in these documents relevant to planning V&V for software security risk mitigations include:
- Vulnerabilities discovered during the security impact analysis or security control monitoring.
- Corrective efforts associated with the mitigation of identified security weaknesses.
- The NASA goalfor vulnerability remediation identified during vulnerability scanning.
- To have all vulnerabilities categorized as high remediated within five working days of discovery.
- To have all vulnerabilities categorized as moderate remediated within thirty working days of discovery.
- To have all vulnerabilities categorized as low remediated within sixty working days of discovery.
Specific to software security risk mitigations, V&V activities include, at a minimum:
- Security vulnerability checks during peer review/inspections of software requirements, design, code (may require updates to existing peer review/inspection checklists).
- Automated security static code analysis.
- Coding standard static analysis.
Additionally, repeating previous assessments for software security vulnerabilities could be used to confirm that the previously identified vulnerabilities and weaknesses have been addressed and no new vulnerabilities introduced or discovered. To keep costs down and prevent propagation of risks through the project, mitigations are to be put in place as early as possible and verified throughout the life cycle.
Project Protection Plans are classified documents. Per the FAQ section of the Community of Practice for Space Asset Protection accessible to NASA users from the NASA Engineering Network, “NASA has developed a process to incrementally lower classification levels of relevant threat information to Secret and worked with project management teams to obtain clearances for their personnel at that level. Program/Project managers can also be read in at the Secret level for short time periods to review Project Protection Plans.
NASA users should consult Center Process Asset Libraries (PALs) for Center-specific guidance and resources related to software security.
Additional guidance related to software security and verification and validation may be found in the following related requirements in this Handbook: