Survivability and Information Assurance (SIA) Curriculum

Today's organizations rely on networked systems powered by fast-changing technology. This reliance makes them more vulnerable to attacks and forces system administrators to seek new approaches to computer and network security. To help them, the CERT Division has developed a downloadable three-course curriculum in survivability and information assurance (SIA). This curriculum offers a problem-solving methodology built on key SIA principles that are independent of specific technologies. These principles form the foundation of the CERT SIA Curriculum. A summary of the curriculum is provided below.

Work on the SIA website is ending. The statistics reported on this page reflect all requests through December 31, 2012. They will not be updated beyond that date. New faculty requests will only be honored through January 31, 2013, after which time there is no way to request the faculty materials through this website.

Foundations of the SIA Curriculum

We based the SIA Curriculum on five key foundations. Each is detailed in Foundations of the SIA Curriculum:

  1. Principles of Survivability and Information Assurance: Making decisions through an organized thought process
  2. The Enterprise Network Supports the Mission of the Business: Understanding how technology choices and applications impact the mission of the business
  3. Survivable Functional Units: Reducing the complexity of the enterprise to a manageable size
  4. Inherit an Enterprise Network: Integrating seamlessly new functionality in the network while keeping mission and constraints of the business in focus
  5. Challenge Assumptions: Understanding first the assumptions, challenging them, and then making an informed decision

These foundations inform the courseware in the SIA Curriculum. Understanding them is the key to successfully teaching and implementing it.

Overview of the Curriculum

The SIA Curriculum Overview explains the key features of the SIA curriculum: its audience, structure, the technology used, and the characteristics students and teachers should possess to be able to get the most out of the curriculum.

The curriculum consists of the following major topic areas, each of which corresponds to one course:

  1. Principles of Survivability and Information Assurance: This course presents in detail the ten principles of survivability and information assurance, on which the entire SIA curriculum is based.
  2. Information Assurance Networking Fundamentals: This course applies the ten principles to the concepts and an implementation of TCP/IP networking.
  3. Sustaining, Improving, and Building Survivable Functional Units (SFUs): This capstone course places students in the role of managing an organization's network while keeping its mission and constraints in focus.

The SIA Lab

In addition to the three core courses, the SIA curriculum offers a companion lab that prepares students for the tasks they will undertake in each course. The SIA Lab Overview provides information about the hardware and the software required for the lab in general and for each specific course. Other topics include configuration management, user identity and privileges, and internet connectivity.

Download the Curriculum

To download the SIA materials, do the following:

General Materials

  1. Click General Download.
  2. Read and accept the license agreement.
  3. Fill out the form, including the captcha information.
  4. Select the Survivability and Information Assurance downloads.

You will then be taken to the general download area where you can download all general course materials as an ISO image or subsets of materials packaged as zip images.

Faculty Materials

New faculty requests are no longer being accepted. However, if you already have a faculty account, you can use your credentials to login to the Faculty Server.

SIA Curriculum PGP Key

The files in the SIA releases are digitally signed; you can verify the files in the ISO images.

PGP public key: sia_curriculum.asc
Fingerprint: 3575 BAA3 0A29 CF38 0F4A F785 5794 5DC9 C63A C9A3

SIA Statistics

Users of the SIA Curriculum from January 2006 through December 31, 2012 include the following

Faculty version: Access to the faculty version of the SIA Curriculum has been granted to 369 qualified faculty members representing 239 colleges and universities located in 43 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and one Canadian province.

  • View map
    (current as of December 31, 2012)

General version: 3,322 downloads of the general version of the SIA Curriculum by groups in 130 countries have taken place.

  • View map
    (current as of December 31, 2012)

The following groups comprise the general downloads:

862 - organizations
856 - personal
744 - educational institutions
674 - government agencies
151 - other