Security in Telecommunications and Information Technology 2006

An overview of issues and the deployment of existing ITU-T Recommendations for secure telecommunications

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This manual provides an overview of security in telecommunications and information technologies, describes practical issues, and indicates how different aspects of security in today’s applications are addressed by ITU-T. The manual has a tutorial character: it collects security related material from ITU-T Recommendations into one place and explains respective relationships. The manual covers additional aspects of security, in particular those that relate to availability – for which ITU-T has a great deal to offer – and to environmental damage in which area ITU-T is also active. It also includes results achieved on security-related standardization since the second edition. Further, aspects covered are based on existing work, not on work in progress, which will be addressed in future editions of this manual. The intended audience for this manual includes engineers and product managers, students and academia, as well as regulators who want to better understand security issues in practical applications.



Executive Summary

The communications industry has made a major contribution to the improvement of global productivity and efficiency with the development of communications infrastructures that bridge communities in almost every industrial segment and every part of the world. This has been possible, in large part through the implementation of standards developed by organizations such as ITU-T. These standards ensure interoperability and efficiency of network operations and also lay the foundations for next generation networks (NGN). However, while standards have continued to meet end-user and industry needs, the increased use of open interfaces and protocols, the multiplicity of new participants, the sheer diversity of applications and platforms, and implementations that are not always adequately tested have increased opportunities for malicious use of networks. In recent years, a surge in security violations (such as viruses and attacks that have resulted in breaches of confidentiality of stored data) has been observed throughout global networks often resulting in major cost impacts. The question then is, how does one support an open communication infrastructure without compromising the information exchanged on it? To a large degree, the answer lies in developing sufficiently robust specifications to ensure that security threats to any area of the communications infrastructure can be countered. With this objective, the efforts of standards groups include the development of standardized security architectures and frameworks, standards for security management, security-specific protocols and techniques to secure communications protocols, as well as steps to minimize potential vulnerabilities in communications standards generally.


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