HERMES

USE CASES

The following sections briefly illustrate HERMES through two use cases. The first one is a general use case showing the use of HERMES as a foundational data management service across multiple organizations, and the second one a more specific use case for the dissemination of cybersecurity data to autonomous military systems.

General Use Case

The general use case supported by HERMES shows two organizations, A and B, and a number of cybersecurity application vendors. To illustrate the distributed nature of HERMES, Organization A is shown to be located in two Sites, 1 and 2. In  the figure below, HERMES is illustrated at the conceptual level by the following components in dark blue:

The HERMES Data Store (HDS) component, which stores all data within HERMES
The HERMES Data Management (HDM) component, which provides automated data management functions defined in policies
The HERMES User Interface (HUI) component, which provides the functionality for Policy Administrators, Data Curators and Quality Assurance Experts to manage the data throughout its lifecycle
The HERMES Data Exchange (HDX) component, which is responsible for exchanging data with other instances of HERMES according to the defined policies
The HERMES Application Programming Interface (HAPI) component, which provides access to data to cybersecurity applications (“App x”)

The various cybersecurity applications (“App x”) represent cybersecurity solutions like those that exist today which are operated by cybersecurity professionals (“CS Specialist”). While these represent applications such as today’s anti-virus software, intrusion detection systems, end-point protection software, and security incident and event monitoring software, for example, these have been modified to use HERMES as their source of data through the HERMES Application Programming Interface (HAPI). As vendors update the datasets used by their products, HERMES brings this data to the applications installed in end-user facilities while enforcing license agreements. Because cybersecurity data is concentrated in HERMES, data management activities such as correlation and quality assurance can be done via functionality offered by the HERMES User Interface (HUI), including correlation with private data held in the HDS but never meant for sharing. The HERMES Data Exchange (HDX) component takes care of moving data across sites as instructed by policies. It also mediates exchanges between organizations where exchange agreements have been put in place for information sharing, collaboration and outsourcing.

Autonomous Military Systems

In this use case, illustrated in the figure below, HERMES provides the ability to channel data from various sources and communities to Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs). Figure 2 shows that the UGV System Vendor has information about potential vulnerabilities in its systems, which it will share with its customers through HERMES’ data exchange functionality. This functionality provides confidentiality and data exchanges are done according to policies that cover licensing, copyrights and authorized uses, amongst other things. This gives vendors the ability to prevent customers from further sharing this information, at least from a contractual and system point-of-view11. This is data flow #1 in the diagram.

 

Figure 2 also shows that generic cybersecurity data exchanged within the global cybersecurity community, which could be through organizations such as the Forum for Incident Response and Security Teams12 (FIRST) or a national Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT). This type of data is generic, such as vulnerabilities and security patches for operating systems and common software libraries. This is data flow #2 in the diagram.

 

Finally, in terms of illustrating the various sources of cybersecurity data, Figure 2 also shows generic cyber threat intelligence being shared by Allies via HERMES. This is data flow #3 in the diagram. All this data and information is received at an office within the Ministry of Defense of the country operating the UGVs, for example, responsible for managing the UGV program. This could be done via a dedicated cybersecurity application (“CS App 1” in Figure 2) connected to HERMES, shown as data flow #4. Other cybersecurity applications (“CS App 2” and “CS App 3”) could also use HERMES as their source of data for other purposes, shown as data flows #5 in the diagram. The application used to manage the cybersecurity of the UGVs could be provided by the UGV vendor, providing the overall functionality to maintain the fleet of UGVs during its lifecycle, including the functionality required to manage cybersecurity of the fleet. Once the staff managing the UGV fleet have considered the available information and decided how to address cybersecurity issues, the data would be passed to the operators of the UGV on deployed operations. This is data flow #6. It is expected that this would happen at a higher security classification, which would be facilitated by HERMES within the DXP installed at the Ministry of Defense. Data flow #6 is therefore shown as a red line.

 

The operators of the UGVs employed in military operations can then use a Command and Control application (“UGV C2 App” in Figure 2) to consider the information send by the managers of the UGV fleet and merge it with the current mission parameters and local threat information available in theatre. Based on the assessed risks, which ultimately incorporates data from the UGV manufacturer, the cybersecurity community, Allies, UGV program managers, and operational considerations, the operators can decide which available measure to take and use HERMES to transfer the data directly to the deployed UGVs. This is data flow #7, also in red as it is expected that it would be done at a higher level of classification. As well, Figure 2 shows a smaller HERMES application being part of a Cyber Defence System (“CDS” on the diagram), also most likely provided by the UGV vendor, showing how the components of HERMES can be designed to be minimalistic for constrained environments and embedded into other applications.