Wednesday, June 08, 2011


As those in the know already know, NIST has officially released some EMAP materials the other day (see EMAP stands for “Event Management Automation Protocol” and has the goal of “standardizing the communication of digital event data.” You can think of it as future “SCAP for logs/events” (the SCAP itself is for configurations and vulnerabilities). Obviously, both twin standards will be “Siamese twins” and will have multiple connection points (such as through CVE, CPE and others).

In reality, SCAP and EMAP are more like “standard umbrellas” and cover multiple constituent security data standards – such as CPE, CVE, CVSS, XCCDF, etc for SCAP and CEE for EMAP. As the new EMAP site states:

The Event Management Automation Protocol (EMAP) is a suite of interoperable specifications designed to standardize the communication of event management data. EMAP is an emerging protocol within the NIST Security Automation Program, and is a peer to similar automation protocols such as the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP). Where SCAP standardizes the data models of configuration and vulnerability management domains, EMAP will focus on standardizing the data models relating to event and audit management. At a high-level, the goal of EMAP is to enable standardized content, representation, exchange, correlation, searching, storing, prioritization, and auditing of event records within an organizational IT environment.

[emphasis by me]

While CEE team is continuing its work on the log formats, taxonomy, profiles and other fun details of logging events, the broader EMAP effort creates a framework around it as well as proposes a set of additional standards related to correlation, parsing rules, event log filtering, event log storage, etc. The released deck [PDF] has these details as well as some use cases for EMAP such as Audit Management, Regulatory Compliance, Incident Handling, Filtered Event Record Sharing, Forensics, etc.

In the future, I expect EMAP to include event log signing, maybe its own event transport (run under CEE component standard) as well as a bunch of standardized representation for correlation (via CERE component standard) and parsing rules (via OEEL) to simplify SIEM interoperability as well as migration.

Everything public to read on EMAP is linked here (2009), here (2010), here, etc [links are PDFs], if you are into that sort of reading. SIEM/log management vendors, please pay attention Smile - some of you have already started implementation of this stuff….

Dr Anton Chuvakin