An Ontology for Effective Security Incident Management


  • Sabarathinam Chockalingam
  • Clara Maathuis



Cyber incident recovery, Cyber security, Incident response, Ontology, Security incident management


With the evolution of technologies like Internet of Things (IoTs), there will be more and more connected devices in use around the world. This is one of the reasons why cyber security is critical to contemporary society as it makes the large majority susceptible to cyber-attacks. Such cyber-attacks not only impact confidentiality, integrity, and availability but also can cause physical damage. This is evident from cyber-attacks like Stuxnet and German steel mill. Effective security incident management plays an important role in minimising negative impact of such attacks mainly in terms of the organizations’ finance, reputation, and personnel safety. Typically, the main phases of security incident management include: (i) preparation, (ii) mid-incident, and (iv) post-incident. There are diverse set of concepts like Structured Threat Information Expression (STIX) and Incident Object Description Exchange Format (IODEF) in the above-mentioned phases of security incident management. However, a comprehensive overview of different concepts and the relationships between such concepts in security incident management is missing. In this paper, we develop an ontology model with relevant concepts and their corresponding relationships between them especially in the mid-incident and post-incident phases of security incident management. Furthermore, we demonstrate the proposed ontology model using colonial pipeline example case study. The proposed model will help incident responders to operationalise concepts, by having a clear understanding on different concepts and their corresponding relationships, which in turn would also make the incident response more effective in practice.