Apply deny-by-exception (blacklisting) policy to prevent the use of unauthorized software or deny-all, permit-by-exception (whitelisting) policy to allow the execution of authorized software.
Organizations should determine their blacklisting or whitelisting policy and configure the system to manage software that is allowed to run. Blacklisting or deny-by-exception allows all software to run except if on an unauthorized software list. Whitelisting or permit-by exception does not allow any software to run except if on an authorized software list. The stronger policy of the two is whitelisting. Example You are in charge of managing the IT infrastructure within your organization. To provide better protection for your company you have decided to take a whitelist approach. With additional research you identify a capability within the latest operating system that can control executables, scripts, libraries, or application installers run in your environment. To ensure success you begin by authorizing digitally signed executables. Once deployed you then plan to evaluate and deploy whitelisting for software libraries and scripts.
Apply deny-by-exception (blacklisting) policy to prevent the use of unauthorized software or deny-all, permit-by- exception (whitelisting) policy to allow the execution of authorized software.
The process used to identify software programs that are not authorized to execute on systems is commonly referred to as blacklisting. The process used to identify software programs that are authorized to execute on systems is commonly referred to as whitelisting. Whitelisting is the stronger of the two policies for restricting software program execution. In addition to whitelisting, organizations consider verifying the integrity of whitelisted software programs using, for example, cryptographic checksums, digital signatures, or hash functions. Verification of whitelisted software can occur either prior to execution or at system startup. [SP 800-167] provides guidance on application whitelisting.
CIS Controls v7.1 2.1, 2.2, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9
NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4 CM-7(4), CM-7(5)
NIST SP 800-171 Rev 1 3.4.8
NIST CSF v1.1 PR.PT-3
CERT RMM v1.2 TM:SG2.SP2
UK NCSC Cyber Essentials
CM.3.069.[a] a policy specifying whether whitelisting or blacklisting is to be implemented is specified;
CM.3.069.[b] the software allowed to execute under whitelisting or denied use under blacklisting is specified; and
CM.3.069.[c] whitelisting to allow the execution of authorized software or blacklisting to prevent the use of unauthorized software is implemented as specified.