Guidelines Related To Electronic Communication And Use Of Secure Central Information Management Unit Office of the Prime Minister

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1 Guidelines Related To Electronic Communication And Use Of Secure Central Information Management Unit Office of the Prime Minister Central Information Management Unit Office of the Prime Minister Version 2.0 April 2004

2

3 CONTENTS Contents

4 Contents Section I: Introduction... 1 About this Handbook... 3 Standards... 3 Other Handbooks and User Guides... 3 CIMU website... 3 Definitions... 4 Electronic Signature...4 Advanced Electronic Signature...4 Certificate...5 Qualified Certificate...5 Competent Authority...5 Central Registry for EU Classified Information...5 National Security Authority...5 Security Accreditation Authority...6 INFOSEC Authority...6 Electronic Communication...6 Public Key Technology...6 Public Key...7 Private Key...7 Section II: Overview of Legal Framework for Electronic Communication. 9 Introduction The Electronic Commerce Act Validity of electronic transactions (Article 3) Information in writing (Article 5) Validity of signatures (Article 6) Misuse (Article 23) Section III: Classification of Documents and Electronic Communication Management Document Classification Definitions, Management and Transmission Methods Top Secret Secret Confidential Contents

5 Restricted Unclassified Maintaining Security Section IV: Using Secure for Electronic Communication Classified as Restricted How It Works Pre-Requisites Access to Secure Sending Secure Messages Reading Secure Messages Addendum Contents

6 Contents

7 Section I SECTION I INTRODUCTION Page 1

8 Section I Page 2

9 Section I About this Handbook The aim of this handbook is to establish guidelines for electronic communication across the Public Service and with the EU as well as describe the secure service available to a user who wishes to communicate a message classified as Restricted. Standards Full details on all Office Automation software and hardware standards and versions in use within Government are available on the CIMU website. Other Handbooks and User Guides Various Handbooks and User Guides are available for distribution in printed form or on-line on the CIMU website. Handbooks contain manadatory instructions which users must follow in order to be conformant with correct system usage whilst User Guides are primarily for information purposes. Handbooks and Guides issued to date include: Services for the Government of Malta User Guide Internet Services for the Government of Malta User Guide Computer Misuse Handbook Desktop Support Services Handbook. CIMU website The CIMU website may be found at Page 3

10 Section I Definitions The following are definitions of terms used in this handbook. These conform to the terms used in the Electronic Commerce Act (ECA). Electronic Signature Electronic signature means data in electronic form which are attached to, incorporated in or logically associated with other electronic data and which serve as a method of authentication. Advanced Electronic Signature An advanced electronic signature means an electronic signature that meets the following requirements: It is uniquely linked to the signatory; It is capable of identifying the signatory; It is created using means that the signatory can maintain under his sole control; and It is linked to the data to which it related in such a manner that any subsequent change of the data is detectable. An advanced electronic signature is created every time a user signs a message. A unique electronic signature associated with that message is created using what is called a hash value, which is a digital representation of the message, and the sender s private key. The recipient s software verifies the electronic signature by computing a new hash result for the message and the sender s public key. In this way the recipient can be sure that the electronic signature was created using the corresponding private key (i.e. verifies the sender), and can also check whether the message was tampered with. This is because an altered message would produce a different hash value to the original. Page 4

11 Section I Certificate Certificate means electronic attestation, which links signature verification data to a person and confirms the identity of that person. Qualified Certificate Qualified Certificate means a certificate that meets the requirements established by or under the ECA and is provided by a signature certification service provider who fulfils the requirements established by or under the ECA. Note: Certificates, like credit cards, can be temporarily suspended or permanently revoked. Competent Authority Competent Authority (CA) means the authority designated as such in the ECA. The Authority issues and verifies certificates. Once the CA is satisfied with the correctness of the identity of the person asking for a certificate, it digitally signs the certificate to prevent its modification or falsification. The CA being used by the Government of Malta also generates the user s public and private keys and maintains a Certificate Revocation List (CRL). Central Registry for EU Classified Information The Central Registry for EU classified information is located in the Cabinet Office with the holder of the Central Registry being the Director, Cabinet Office. National Security Authority The Malta Security Service is the National Security Authority (NSA). The NSA is, inter alia, responsible in terms of the law for the security vetting of personnel who may have access to or handle classified information or who are involved in the technical operation maintenance of communication and information systems containing classified information. It is also charged with the setting of standards of security in the Central Registry and sub-registries. Page 5

12 Section I Security Accreditation Authority The Cabinet Secretariat is the designated Security Accreditation Authority that certifies individuals who are security cleared by the National Security Authority. INFOSEC Authority The Central Information Management Unit (CIMU) is responsible for IT policies and standards in the Public Service, including those for Information Security and Risk Management. The Malta Information Technology and Training Services Ltd (MITTS), is CIMU's agent for operational matters. CIMU is the INFOSEC Authority for Malta. It is responsible, inter alia, for the accreditation of IT systems and networks. It shall work jointly with the National Security Authority to provide information and advice on technical threats to security and the means for protecting them. Electronic Communication Electronic communication means information generated, communicated, processed, sent, received, recorded, stored or displayed by electronic means. Public Key Technology Secure encryption and signing is based on public key technology. The idea behind public key technology is that the encryption / decryption is always based on a pair of keys each user has a public key and a private key. The keys are mathematically bound to each other in such a way that an or document encrypted with someone s public key can be decrypted only by using the corresponding private key. Anyone with a private key that is not the intended recipient s will not manage to read the message. Page 6

13 Section I Public Key A public key, as its name implies, is something which is made public for everyone to see. For ease of use, the public keys of all users on the Government of Malta system reside in a Certificate Directory which is automatically available to all Government secure users and can be accessed from within the client. Private Key In addition to the public key, each user has his / her own corresponding and unique private key. The private key proves the identity of the user and should be protected by a password and backed up in case of hard disk failure. Note: A private key is to be kept secret and not be shared amongst users. Page 7

14 Section I Page 8

15 Section II SECTION II OVERVIEW OF LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION Page 9

16 Section II Page 10

17 Section II Introduction is a mission critical service, which has become the primary tool for text and graphics movement within the Public Service as well as with external entities and individuals, and is to be used as first preference for official correspondence. Certain types of documents however, may not be transmitted electronically unless through secure with the correct security setting. An add-on service to the standard package is therefore being introduced to provide the additional security requirements. Once installed, the secure program becomes part of the standard client, therefore all standard features are unchanged and the user will be presented with the familiar interface. Secure enables users to send digitally signed and encrypted messages, and being based on an international standard (the S/MIME specification for secure electronic mail), it enables users to correspond securely with external entities as long as they too use an S/MIME compliant system. The Electronic Commerce Act The Secure components are in line with the provisions set out in the Electronic Commerce Act (ECA), which provides the legal basis for electronic communications, contracts, signatures and transactions. The ECA embodies the fundamental principle that electronic communications should not be discriminated against that there should be no disparity of treatment between electronic communications, electronic records or information in electronic form and paper communications, records or information. The following are extracts that are relevant to this handbook. Validity of electronic transactions (Article 3) A transaction is not deemed to be invalid merely because it took place wholly or partly by means of one or more electronic communications. Page 11

18 Section II Information in writing (Article 5) If under any law in Malta a person is required or permitted to give information in writing, that requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if the person gives the information by means of an electronic communication. Validity of signatures (Article 6) If under any law in Malta the signature of a person is required, such requirement is deemed to have been satisfied if such signature is an electronic signature and such signature shall not be denied legal effectiveness on the grounds that it is: a) in electronic form; or b) not based upon a qualified certificate; or c) not based upon a qualified certificate issued by an accredited signature certification service provider; or d) not created by a secure signature creation device: Provided that if the electronic signature is in the form of an advanced electronic signature, which is based on a qualified certificate and is created by a secure creation device, it shall for all intents and purposes of law be presumed to be the signature of the signatory. Misuse (Article 23) 1) No person shall access, copy or otherwise obtain possession of or recreate the signature creation device of another person without authorisation, for the purpose of creating, or allowing or causing another person to create an unauthorised electronic signature using such signature device. 2) No person shall alter, disclose or use the signature creation device of another person without authorisation, or in excess of lawful Page 12

19 Section II authorisation, for the purpose of creating or allowing or causing another person to create an unauthorised electronic signature using such signature creation device. 3) No person shall create, publish, alter or otherwise use a certificate or an electronic signature for any fraudulent or other unlawful purpose. 4) No person shall misrepresent his identity or authorisation in requesting or accepting a certificate or in requesting suspension or revocation of a certification. 5) No person shall access, alter, disclose or use the signature creation device of a signature certification service provider used to issue certificates without the authorisation of the signature certification service provider, or in excess of lawful authorisation, for the purpose of creating, or allowing or causing another person to create, an unauthorised electronic signature using such signature creation device. 6) No person shall publish a certificate, or otherwise knowingly make it available to anyone likely to rely on the certificate or on an electronic signature that is verifiable with reference to data such as codes, passwords, algorithms, public cryptographic keys or other data which are used for the purposes of verifying an electronic signature, listed in the certificate, if such person knows that: a) The signature certification service provider listed in the certificate has not issued it; or b) The subscriber listed in the certificate has not accepted it; or c) The certificate has been revoked or suspended, unless such publication is for the purpose of verifying an electronic signature created prior to such revocation or suspension, or giving notice of revocation or suspension. 7) No person shall use cryptographic or other similar techniques for any illegal purpose. Page 13

20 Section II Page 14

21 Section III SECTION III CLASSIFICATION OF DOCUMENTS AND ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT Page 15

22 Section III Page 16

23 Section III Document Classification Definitions, Management and Transmission Methods The Document Classification system adopted by the Government of Malta is five tiered. The definitions are shown hereunder. The responsibility for classifying information and for any subsequent downgrading or declassification rests solely with the originator. The level of classification is determined by the level of sensitivity of its contents. It is important that classification is correctly and sparingly used. Tendency to over- or under- classifiy should be curbed. On the other hand, documents shall not be underclassified with a view to avoiding constraints connected with protection. Mismanagement of classification will place the transmission of documents under considerable duress even so as all documents classified as Confidential and above cannot be transmitted electronically. Under the established classification, one would expect that 95% of the electronic communications would be classified Restricted or unclassified. Documents classified as Top Secret, Secret, and Confidential would make up the remaining 5% of electronic communications and should truly contain information that is within the terms of the established definitions. Top Secret This classification is to be applied only to information and material the unauthorised discolosure of which could be extremely detrimental to the essential interests of Malta, the EU or one or more of its member states. Such classified information is to be handled and stored in areas where entry and exit are strictly controlled, admitting only those duly cleared to this level of classification. Access to TOP SECRET documents or information will be restricted to designated personnel who are security cleared and have appropriate need-to-know for the subject matter. Page 17

24 Section III If persons without Top Secret clearance require information which, although contained in a TOP SECRET document, does not have that classification, the head of the Registry for Classified Information may be authorised by the originator to produce the necessary number of extracts from that document which must be then given the appropriate security classification. Records must be kept to show the number of copies made and their disposition. TOP SECRET documents will be stored in a strong safe with two good quality locks satisfying the NSA approved security standards, one of which preferably with an electronic combination without batteries, the second with a key. The respective keys or lock combinations will be in all cases held by designated security-cleared personnel. Only the originator may authorise the copy or translation of Top Secret Documents. Transmission of TOP SECRET documents will be strictly through official messengers or by persons authorised to have access to TOP SECRET information or through diplomatic mailbag or military courier service. TOP SECRET documents are not to be transmitted by electronic mail secure or otherwise. Secret This classification is to be applied only to information and material the unauthorised discolsure of which could be seriously detrimental to the essential interests of Malta, the EU or one or more of its member states. Such classified information is to be handled and stored in areas to which access is controlled and restricted to designated security cleared personnel. Access to the information will be restricted to designated personnel who are security cleared and have the appropriate need-to-know for the subject matter. SECRET documents will be stored in a security cabinet fitted with an electronic lock, satisfying the NSA approved security standard, without Page 18

25 Section III batteries and without key in order to avoid the necessary key management, the combination to which will be held by designated security cleared personnel. Documents classified SECRET may be reproduced and translated by the addressee strictly on a need-to-know basis, but records must be kept in order to show the number of copies made and their disposition. The security measures applicable to the original document shall also be applicable to reproductions and/or translations thereof. Transmission of SECRET documents will be strictly through official messengers or by persons authorised to have access to TOP SECRET information or through diplomatic mailbag or military courier service. SECRET documents are not to be transmitted by electronic mail secure or otherwise. Confidential This classification is to be applied to information and material the unauthorised disclosure of which could be detrimental to the essential interests of Malta, the EU or one of its member states. Such classified information is to be handled and stored in areas to which access is controlled. Access to the information will be restricted to designated personnel who are security cleared and have the appropriate need-to-know for the subject matter. CONFIDENTIAL documents will be stored in a security cabinet fitted with an electronic lock, satisfying the NSA approved security standard, without batteries and without key in order to avoid the necessary key management, the combination to which will be held by designated security cleared personnel. Documents may be reproduced and translated by the addressee on a need-to-know basis, but records must be kept in order to show the number of copies made and their disposition. Page 19

26 Section III The security measures applicable to the original document shall also be applicable to the reprductions and/or translations. Transmission of CONFIDENTIAL documents will be strictly through official messengers or by persons authorised to have access to CONFIDENTIAL information or through diplomatic mailbag or military courier service. CONFIDENTIAL documents are not to be transmitted by electronic mail secure or otherwise. Restricted To be applied to information and material the unauthorised disclosure of which could be disadvantageous to the interests of Malta, the EU or one or more of its member states. Such classified information is to be handled and stored in areas where the public is denied access. Documents may be reproduced as required by recipients on a need-toknow basis. Electronic transmission of RESTRICTED documents may be done by Secure using Non Repudiation Sign and Encrypt. Unclassified To be applied to information and material the unauthorised disclosure of which will cause no disadvantage to the interests of Malta, the EU or one or more of its member states. Electronic transmission of unclassified documents may be done by normal electronic mail. Page 20

27 Section III Maintaining Security Documents classified as TOP SECRET, SECRET, or CONFIDENTIAL cannot be generated or opened and read on a PC that has access to or that may be connected to the Internet. Page 21

28 Section III Page 22

29 Section IV SECTION IV USING SECURE FOR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION CLASSIFIED AS RESTRICTED Page 23

30 Section IV Page 24

31 Section IV How It Works A message sent using secure may be either signed or encrypted or both. Advanced digital signatures prove whom the comes from, and that it has not been altered in transit. Encryption protects the contents of the message and does not allow the message to be read by someone other than the intended recipient. Secure encryption and signing is based on public key technology. Pre-Requisites To use secure the following are required: A Qualified Certificate A user wishing to use secure must submit an approved application to MITTS Ltd SCC (Service Call Centre) who will vet and process the application. The SCC will then instruct the user on how to fill in an enrolment form that is to be submitted to the selected Competent Authority. It is important that all information is entered correctly as the user s keys will be based on the information submitted. Read through the Enrolment Guide provided by MITTS Ltd prior to filling in the enrolment form. Note: When applying for the Qualified Certificate, a user is required to enter a Challenge Phrase and password. These are to be chosen carefully and kept secret to deter impersonators. The Certificate is valid for one year from date of issue and the user will need to renew before expiration. The Challenge Phrase is required when the certificate is to be renewed or has been revoked; therefore it should be a phrase which, although difficult for someone else to guess, the user can remember after several months. Page 25

32 Section IV Secure Mail software Once the enrolment form has been submitted and the Qualified Certificate granted, the MITTS Ltd Service Call Centre will arrange for software installation. Any password entered during installation is to be chosen carefully as this will protect the user s private key. The following golden rules should be adhered to when creating a password: create passwords with a minimum length of 8 characters; the maximum length allowed by the secure application is 15 characters; use a mixture of letters and numbers to make the password more difficult to guess such as a01fzk% ; do not have a password that is easy for someone to guess such as a name, dictionary word, acronym or anything linked to personal information. For further details on password management refer to the Computer Misuse Handbook and Password Policy which may be found on the CIMU website. Note: During software installation it is important that a backup of the private key is made. This is to be kept in a safe place and should not be left lying around. Access to Secure Each secure user can send and read secure messages only from the computer on which the secure software and his / her private key were installed. A user will therefore be able to login to his / her account from any computer to read and send messages with no security set, but will not be able to send and read secure messages unless it is from the computer that has the key installed. Note: Page 26 Secure is not available through web-mail.

33 Section IV Sending Secure Messages A secure is created in the same way as a normal message. The user clicks on the Send New Message icon and selects the recipient/s, writes the message text, includes any attachments and sets the envelope information if required. The user then selects the security level from the drop down list (see below): Figure 1 - the Send New window with Security Drop-Down list in TeamWARE ver 6.0 Page 27

34 Section IV The options in the Security drop-down list are: No security: Sign: Encrypt: Sign and encrypt: Clear sign: Non-repudiation signature: Non-repudiation sign and encrypt: Standard message as currently in use. Signing a message proves to a recipient the identity of the sender and the integrity of the message. Encrypting a message makes it unintelligible to anyone except the intended recipient/s. Proves identity of sender and integrity of contents as well as providing confidentiality. To be used only if the recipient s software does not support the S/MIME standard. Enables the contents to be read even if the signature is not. Not to be used when sending secure messages to users of the Government of Malta E- mail Services. Non-repudiation signature means that information sent cannot later be disclaimed. As non-repudiation signature with added confidentiality of encryption. Reading Secure Messages The Read Message window in Secure Mail contains a new Security button which varies depending on the security setting of the message. message sent with no security set. Page 28

35 Section IV message has been signed. Clicking on the button provides the following information: message has been encrypted Clicking on the button provides the following information: message has been signed and encrypted. Clicking on the button provides the following information: Note: Encryption protects an attached document only while it resides on the server. Once the document is fetched (downloaded) onto the user s computer it is no longer encrypted and may be viewed by anyone having access to the computer. Page 29

36 Page 30

37 ADDENDUM Page 31

38 Appendix Page 32

39 ADDENDUM April 2004 Known Fault Secure Software A bug has developed in the Secure Software. Users are to take note that two possible faults are likely to occur after a standard user sends a (standard) with an attachment to a secure user. The circumstances leading to the faults are as follows: 1. Using Secure Software, the latter user forwards the together with the attachment to a third user, selecting the encryption options in the process. It is noted that the third user receives the having its body text encrypted but with the attachment in non-encrypted format. 2. Using Secure Software, the latter user forwards the together with the attachment to a third user, adding a new attachment and selecting the encryption options in the process. It is noted that the third user receives the having its body text and the latest attached document encrypted, but with the original attachment in a non-encrypted format. At this stage, no remedy to this fault has been developed, however, the Secure Software supplier has been informed accordingly for a corrective solution to be included in a future release version of the same software. Central Information Management Unit Office of the Prime Minister. Page 33

40 Appendix Page 34

41 Notes Page 35

42 Page 36

43 Page 37

44 Page 38

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