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An XML-based architecture for data integration in vulnerability assessments

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Purpose ‐ One of the problems facing systems administrators and security auditors is that a security test/audit can generate a vast quantity of information that needs to be stored, analysed and cross referenced for later use. The current state-of-the-art in security audit tools does not allow for information from multiple different tools to be shared and integrated. This paper aims to develop an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based architecture that is capable of encoding information from a variety of disparate heterogeneous sources and then unifying and integrating them into a single SQL database schema. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper demonstrates how, through the application of the architecture, large quantities of security related information can be captured within a single database schema. This database can then be used to ensure that systems are conforming to an organisation's network security policy. Findings ‐ This type of data integration and data unification within a vulnerability assessment/security audit is currently not possible; this leads to confusion and omissions in the security audit process. Originality/value ‐ This paper develops a data integration and unification architecture that will allow data from multiple vulnerability assessment tools to be integrated into a single unified picture of the security state of a network of interconnected computer systems.

Keywords: Data encapsulation; Data handling; Extensible Markup Language

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2005


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