Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Final Public Draft of NIST Special Publication 800-53 Revision 4
February 05, 2013

NIST announces the release of Draft Special Publication 800-53, Revision 4Security and Privacy Controls for Federal information Systems and Organizations (Final Public Draft). Special Publication 800-53, Revision 4, represents the culmination of a two-year initiative to update the guidance for the selection and specification of security controls for federal information systems and organizations. This update, the most comprehensive since the initial publication of the controls catalog in 2005, was conducted as part of the Joint Task Force Transformation Initiative in cooperation and collaboration with the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, and the Committee on National Security Systems. NIST received and responded to several thousand comments during the extensive public review and comment period. 
The proposed changes included in Special Publication 800-53, Revision 4, support the federal information security strategy of "Build It Right, Then Continuously Monitor" and are directly linked to the current threat space (i.e., capabilities, intentions, and targeting of adversaries) as well as the attack data collected and analyzed over a substantial period of time. In this update, there is renewed emphasis on security controls that can be implemented to increase the reliability, trustworthiness, and resiliency of information systems, system components, and information system services -- especially in those systems, components, and services supporting critical organizational missions and business operations (including, for example, critical infrastructure applications). In particular, the major changes in Revision 4 include:

  • New security controls and control enhancements addressing the advanced persistent threat (APT), supply chain, insider threat, application security, distributed systems, mobile and cloud computing, and developmental and operational assurance; 
  • Clarification of security control language; 
  • New tailoring guidance including the fundamental assumptions used to develop the security control baselines; 
  • Significant expansion of supplemental guidance for security controls and enhancements; 
  • Streamlined tailoring guidance to facilitate customization of baseline security controls; 
  • New privacy controls and implementation guidance based on the internationally recognized Fair Information Practice Principles; 
  • Updated security control baselines; 
  • New summary tables for security controls and naming convention for control enhancements to facilitate ease-of-use; 
  • New mapping tables for ISO/IEC 15408 (Common Criteria); 
  • The concept of overlays, allowing organizations and communities of interest to develop specialized security plans that reflect specific missions/business functions, environments of operation, and information technologies; and 
  • Designation of assurance-related controls for low-impact, moderate-impact, and high-impact information systems and additional controls for responding to high assurance requirements.

As the federal government continues to implement its unified information security framework using the core publications developed under the Joint Task Force, there is also a significant transformation underway in how federal agencies authorize their information systems. Near real-time risk management and the ability to design, develop, and implement effective continuous monitoring programs, depends first and foremost, on the organization's ability to develop a strong information technology infrastructure -- in essence, building stronger, more resilient information systems using system components with sufficient security capability to protect core missions and business functions. The security and privacy controls in this publication, along with the flexibility inherent in the implementation guidance, provide the requisite tools to implement effective, risk-based, information security programs capable of addressing sophisticated threats. 
To support the final public review process, NIST will publish a markup version of Appendices D, F, and G (i.e., baseline allocations and the catalog of security controls for information systems and organizations) on or about February 8th to show the changes from the initial public draft. This will help organizations plan for any future update actions they may wish to undertake after Revision 4 is finalized. There will not be any markups provided for the main chapters or other appendices. A markup showing changes from Revision 3 to Revision 4 for the aforementioned appendices will be provided upon final publication of Special Publication 800-53, anticipated for April 2013
Public comment period: February 5th through March 1st, 2013
Comments can be sent to: .

Created December 22, 2016, Updated June 22, 2020