ABSTRACT: The Common Criteria enable an objective evaluation to validate that a particular product or system satisfies a defined set of security requirements. Although the focus of the Common Criteria is evaluation, it presents a standard that should be of interest to those who develop security requirements.
The Common Criteria (CC) were developed through a combined effort of six countries: the United States, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. This effort built on earlier standards, including Europe's Information Technology Security Evaluation Criteria (ITSEC), the United States' Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria (TCSEC), and the Canadian Trusted Computer Product Evaluation Criteria (CTCPEC) [Caplan 99]. The CC is an international standard (ISO/IEC 15408) for computer security. A Common Criteria evaluation allows an objective evaluation to validate that a particular product satisfies a defined set of security requirements. The focus of the Common Criteria is evaluation of a product or system, and less on development of requirements. Nevertheless, its evaluation role makes it of interest to those who develop security requirements. The Common Criteria allow for seven Evaluation Assurance Levels (EALs), which will be discussed further.
An overview of the common criteria can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Criteria. A definitive source of current information about the Common Criteria is the Common Criteria Portal. Much of the material in this discussion is drawn from an earlier report [Mead 03].