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CIP-004 R4/R5 Access Management, Revocation, and Control Report

by David Schwalenberg
March 25, 2016

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is a not-for-profit international regulatory authority whose mission is to assure the reliability of the bulk power system in North America. NERC Reliability Standards define the reliability requirements for planning and operating the North American bulk power system, which serves more than 334 million people. NERC is committed to protecting the bulk power system against cyber security compromises that could lead to misoperation or instability. The NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Standards provide a cyber security framework for the identification and protection of Bulk Electric System (BES) Cyber Systems, to support the reliable operation of the North American bulk power system.

One aspect of CIP-004 R4 (Access Management Program) involves implementing an electronic access management program, to authorize and review user electronic access based on need. CIP-004 R5 (Access Revocation) involves revoking user access in cases of terminations or transfers. CIP-007 R5 (System Access Control) involves enforcing user access control and securing user authentication. These requirements mirror important cyber security best practices dealing with user access and least privilege. User access must be limited in order to limit inadvertent or unauthorized access to information. User privileges must be limited in order to limit possible accidental or malicious misuse of applications and resources. If these areas are not addressed, attackers, malicious insiders, or careless users might negatively impact the reliable operation of the BES.

For organizations that are required to be CIP compliant, SecurityCenter Continuous View (CV) can lead the way to compliance. This report can assist in monitoring user access management and control, including monitoring changes to accounts, privileges, and groups. The report also highlights account and credential vulnerabilities, such as default accounts and password disclosures. Provided appropriate audit scans are run on the network, access control and least privilege compliance metrics will also be displayed. This report can assist an organization in meeting the CIP-004 R4 and R5 and CIP-007 R5 requirements and measures. If desired, more detailed information can be obtained through analysis within SecurityCenter CV.

The CIP standards recommend categorizing BES Cyber Assets into different impact categories. An asset's impact category is based on the adverse impact to BES reliability that would occur if the asset was unavailable, degraded, or misused. Once the impact categories of systems have been determined, asset groups in SecurityCenter CV can be used to group together machines in each impact category. Asset groups can then be applied to this report to narrow the focus and enable more accurate reporting on systems in specific impact categories. Using assets with reports is very similar to using assets with dashboards; for more information, see How to Add Assets in SecurityCenter and How to Use Assets with Dashboards. Alternatively, if the assets are in separate subnets, then subnet filters can be easily applied to narrow the focus of this report. 

This report is available in the SecurityCenter Feed, a comprehensive collection of dashboards, reports, Assurance Report Cards, and assets. The report can be easily located in the SecurityCenter Feed under the category Compliance. The report requirements are:

  • SecurityCenter 5.2.0
  • Nessus 6.5.4
  • PVS 4.4.0
  • LCE 4.6.1
  • Compliance data

SecurityCenter Continuous View (CV) is the market-defining continuous network monitoring solution. For Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, where reliability and not interfering with normal operations is a concern, SecurityCenter CV includes passive vulnerability detection with the Passive Vulnerability Scanner (PVS), as well as log correlation with the Log Correlation Engine (LCE). Where possible, active vulnerability detection and compliance scanning with Nessus can also be done. Using SecurityCenter CV, an organization will obtain the most comprehensive and integrated view of its SCADA network.


Executive Summary - This chapter presents a high-level overview of account management events and vulnerabilities. This information can assist with access management and control, which will aid in meeting the CIP requirements and measures.

Accounts - This chapter presents more detailed information on user accounts, such as new accounts and account changes. Current vulnerabilities related to accounts, credentials, and passwords are also presented. This information can assist with access management and control, which will aid in meeting the CIP requirements and measures.

User Access and Least Privilege Compliance - This chapter presents information on user access and least privilege compliance, including details on observed compliance failures. This information can assist particularly with controlling access, which will aid in meeting the CIP requirements and measures.

Login Activity by User - This chapter presents recent login activity for each user detected on the network. This information can give insight into user activity on the network, such as when a user last logged in and what machines the user is accessing.

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