Citation[edit | edit source]

NIST, An Introduction to Computer Security: The NIST Handbook (NIST Special Publication 800-12) (Oct. 1995) (full-text).

Overview[edit | edit source]

This handbook provides assistance in securing computer-based resources (including hardware, software, and information) by explaining important concepts, cost considerations, and interrelationships of security controls. It illustrates the benefits of security controls, the major techniques or approaches for each control, and important related considerations.

The handbook provides a broad overview of computer security to help readers understand their computer security needs and to develop a sound approach to the selection of appropriate security controls. It does not describe detailed steps necessary to implement a computer security program, provide detailed implementation procedures for security controls, or give guidance for auditing the security of specific systems. General references are provided at the end of this chapter, and references of "how-to" books and articles are provided at the end of each chapter in Parts II, III and IV.

The purpose of this handbook is not to specify requirements but, rather, to discuss the benefits of various computer security controls and situations in which their application may be appropriate. Some requirements for federal systems are noted in the text. This document provides advice and guidance; no penalties are stipulated.

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