What are “Common Criteria”?

Thales eSecurity Provides the Answers to your Cybersecurity Questions

What are “Common Criteria”?

The Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation (abbreviated as Common Criteria or CC) is an international standard (ISO/IEC 15408) for computer security certification. Common Criteria provides assurance that IT security products have been specified and evaluated in a rigorous and repeatable manner and at a level commensurate with the target environment for use. Originally developed to unify and supersede national IT security certification schemes from several different countries, including the US, Canada, Germany, the UK, France, Australia and New Zealand. Common Criteria is now the widest available mutual recognition of secure IT products.

Security Standard

Common Criteria certified solutions are required by governments and enterprises around the world to protect their mission-critical infrastructures. Common Criteria is often a pre-requisite for qualified digital signatures under the European Union digital signature laws. In addition, U.S. Government agencies frequently request products that are National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) listed, which requires Common Criteria certification.

The Common Criteria standard provides an assurance on different aspect of the product security covering areas such as:

  • Development of the product and related functional specification, high-level design, security architecture and or implementation design
  • Guidance of the product and related manual for the secure deployment and preparation of the product
  • Life-cycle of the document and all related processes applicable during the creation of the product such as configuration management or secure development process and tools used to the deployment and retirement of the product with the life-cycle design and delivery process
  • Supporting security policy documentation
  • Tests of the product and particularly coverage of the functional security requirement
  • Vulnerability assessments

Certification Authorities

Common Criteria is an international standard (ISO/IEC 15408). The Common Criteria Development Board managed the technical work program for the maintenance and ongoing development of the CC set of documentation.

Two major recognition agreements exist in the Common Criteria:

  1. Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement (or CCRA) that comprises 28 countries across all continents, and recognizing the Common Criteria certification up to the level EAL 2 of secure IT products by the CCRA authorizing members
  2. Senior Official Group – Information Systems Security (or SOG-IS) that comprises 15 countries from Europe, and recognizing the certification Common Criteria up to the level EAL 7 of secure IT products depending on the level of the SOG-IS members

Related Articles