Understanding the Key Identification and Authentication Protocols of DFARS

One of the essential cornerstones of any cybersecurity plan is identification and authentication, which is required to comply with the DFARS 252.204-7012 clause. According to NIST SP 800 171, compliance necessitates adherence to all of the fundamental areas of information security. Critical security awareness, data encryption at rest and in transit, and system maintenance are all part of this. Since DFARS compliance can be tricky, one must hire DFARS consultant Virginia Beach for professional assistance.

What is the difference between identification and authentication?

The safeguards put in place to restrict how personnel access sensitive information are identified and verified. This includes safeguarding regulated unclassified data in the instance of DFARS 252.204-7012. (CUI). Irrespective of whether or not this is a part of the complete Defense Industrial Base, every firm should adopt strict access controls to secure all of its sensitive information assets.

Logins and passwords are the most fundamental and well-known ways of digital authentication. On the other hand, passwords are insufficient to secure sensitive data since they are particularly vulnerable to social engineering assaults. Even a strong password strategy that is well implemented isn’t enough, which is why multifactor validation must always be used as an additional layer of protection (MFA).

While the US Department of Defense employs the CAC network to validate credentials, the DFARS 252.204-7012 clause indicates that companies can adopt any MFA solution they choose as long as it fulfills the NIST SP 800 171 framework’s criteria.

  • Authentication techniques must be replay-resistant to defend systems from dangers like replay and brute-force assaults.
  • To avoid security gaps from arising due to bad behaviors like repeating passwords, identifying should only be reused for a specified period of time.
  • To secure inactive user profiles or those pertaining to prior workers, identifiers should be deactivated after a particular time of inactivity.

Creating a password policy that complies with DFARS

Passwords are still an essential part of network access, and DFARS cybersecurity establishes tight guidelines for their usage. The majority of these are now common across all industries; however, the following are the most important:

  • To be practically impervious to any ruthlessness hacking effort or easy speculating, credentials must have minimal complexity. Personnel should avoid actual words and familiar names in the ideal password, which should comprise both letters and numbers. It’s also a good idea to use a password at least 12 characters in length.
  • Username and password should not be repeated, at least not for more than a few generations. Passwords, for example, should be updated daily, and passwords should not reuse for at least five modifications. On the other hand, one can use temporary passwords for first system logins before switching to a regular password.
  • The organization should use only AES-256 encryption or greater to store and transport passwords. Because attackers frequently target credential databases, this is important. However, if the credentials are encrypted, the attacker will not use them. Finally, to prevent snooping, every login should be obfuscated upon entering.

Best DFARS-compliant protocols 

Identification and authentication procedures define how interconnected entities communicate with one another. Single-factor primary verification has long been the most popular, but it’s also the lowest secure, and it doesn’t follow the NIST SP 800 171 framework’s criteria. The password-based authentication protocol (PAP), for instance, does not encrypt the data and just verifies the username and password amalgamation entered.

The system determines the identity and authentication protocol to use. OIDC and OAuth2 are two of the most widely used protocols. These are appropriate for usage in dispersed IT settings where having a single sign-on (SSO) for all programs and platforms used for work is typically required for productivity and convenience of use.