Wednesday, May 15, 2019

ICMC19: FIPS 140-2 and the Cloud

Alan Halachmi, Sr. Manager, Solutions Architecture, Amazon, United States

FIPS 140-2 came out in May 2001... think about that, that was before Facebook, Gmail, etc - and way before cloud computing.

Right now validating on the cloud is impossible, as level 1 requires single operator mode - not how you will find things set up in the cloud. In fact, an IG on Operational Environment specifically notes that You cannot use things like AWS, MS Azure or Google cloud.... )

But - someone like Amazon can validate one of their services, as they are the sole operator.

The security landscape is in constant flux - making it difficult to keep a module validated. Performance is often impacted in validated modules - which is not tenable for Amazon.

Amazon wanted a framework that would allow real time advancement from validated environment to validated environment. We want to make it clear that it's a multi-party environment, and with that comes shared responsibility, but would require minimal coordination and be applied consistently between different application models. As much as possible, what to leverage existing investments.
There needs to be focus on automation and defining of relationships. Vendors need the ability to run their own FIPS 140 testing, so they can be assured that any changes they are making have not caused issues - then they can also test performance, etc. Fortunately, ACVP is creating a method for doing this automated testing! NIST approved!

We should look to another model for validation. Think about our history - humans used to come up with hypothesis and then prove them. After the 1970s, humans came up with the hypothesis and machines provde them. Could machines do both?

Think about your surface area of your code - the most critcal code is in small areas (hypervisor, kernel, etc). Attackers have more time (OSes and machines deployed for years) and learned history from what worked in the past. Can we use formal methods for verification? Amazon has done one for TLS - it's on github.

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