Cyber attackers exploit Vulnerabilities in software code to gain unauthorized access or expose sensitive data. CVE provides standardized identifiers for public cybersecurity vulnerabilities and links to technical details from diverse information sources.
When an organization receives a vulnerability report with CVE Records from a scanning service, they can quickly and accurately use other tools, services and databases compatible with CVE to understand and resolve the issue. This helps improve security outcomes and reduce risk.
Vulnerabilities are mistakes in software code that enable attackers to gain direct unauthorized access to systems and networks, spread malware and steal information. The CVE list, maintained by MITRE Corporation (a nonprofit that runs federal government-sponsored research and development centers), is a reference system for publicly known threats. The CVE listing also encourages people to share information about vulnerabilities and exposures, increasing their awareness.
The CVE list assigns each vulnerability a unique identifier (CVE ID) when made public. This allows security tools to compare and correlate information about each exposure easily. The CVE ID may be accompanied by a short description of the flaw, impacted products, how hackers exploit it and references to other sources of more detailed information about the vulnerability.
CVE entries are added when a researcher finds a design oversight or flaw that could be used to exploit a computer system. There is a review process to ensure that a potential CVE is valid before it’s added to the list. Generally, the stronger the claim that something should be included in a CVE, the more likely it will be accepted. The strongest claims come from established vendors, recognized security research companies like Qualys and UpGuard and individual white-hat hackers such as Tavis Ormandy.
Vulnerabilities are mistakes within software code that enable attackers to gain unauthorized access or spread malware. CVE provides a standard identification number for these weaknesses so cybersecurity tools can identify and fix them.
Attackers exploit system vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access, steal information, or install malware. Managing these threats requires understanding and prioritizing the vulnerabilities in an organization’s network. Using security tools recognized as the best CVE-compatible products and services provides a common language for naming and describing these issues to help reduce an organization’s overall cybersecurity risk posture.
The CVE Program is supported by an open and collaborative process that ensures it meets the global vulnerability identification needs of the cybersecurity community. The CVE Board includes:
- Representatives from commercial security tool vendors, projects, standards bodies, and organizations that maintain security products and services.
- Academia and research institutions.
- Industry CERTs.
- Government departments and agencies.
MITRE serves as the functional editor of the CVE list, ensuring that vulnerabilities are evaluated consistently and that duplicates and wrong number assignments are avoided. The standardized identifiers also make linking vulnerabilities across different tools and services easier. This helps to eliminate gaps in the cybersecurity infrastructure and ensures that all means have a consistent baseline of protection. It also allows for comparing the effectiveness of cybersecurity tools against common threats.
Keeping track of vulnerabilities and exposures is a critical job for security administrators. But, as the number of software and firmware vulnerabilities continues to increase, they need help to keep up with the information. The CVE Program was developed to provide a standardized way of identifying and cataloging such weaknesses in response to this challenge.
A CVE identifier is assigned to a particular vulnerability or exposure, and each identifier has a unique alphanumeric value that references a specific security weakness or issue. The CVE program is managed by a Board that includes representatives from the cybersecurity community, including commercial security tool vendors, information assurance organizations, research institutions, and government departments and agencies. Additionally, an extensive network of CVE Numbering Authorities (CNAs) is responsible for assigning the identifiers and enriching them with additional information, such as the software version affected by the vulnerability, a description of the weakness, and more.
To receive CVE Compatibility authorization, intrusion detection, vulnerability assessment tools, and vulnerability countermeasure information services must be CVE-compatible. This is accomplished by following guidelines that ensure these tools and services properly handle association and cross-reference between security elements. Those guidelines include a requirement that CVE-compatible tools and services must:
The CVE program provides a standardized way of identifying and referencing vulnerabilities in software and hardware systems. The list of publicly disclosed flaws is centralized and can be accessed by security professionals, vendors, and other organizations to assess their risk and prioritize remediation efforts.
The list is curated by CVE Numbering Authorities, which can be software vendors, open source projects, coordination centers, bug bounty service providers, or researchers. When a new vulnerability is discovered, the responsible vendor or project reports it to the CVE Numbering Authority for consideration. A CVE ID is then assigned and published in the CVE List. The information is then used by tools, services, and databases oriented toward cybersecurity to compare data and identify the most relevant vulnerabilities.
Vulnerabilities are mistakes within software that can allow attackers to gain direct unauthorized access to systems and networks, spread malware, or take other actions that damage security posture. Managing these weaknesses, or vulnerabilities, is essential for keeping systems and networks safe and secure.
Using CVE-compatible products and services is a key component of any effective vulnerability management strategy. When these systems and devices are CVE-compatible, they can work together to improve the ability of SecOps teams to identify and resolve threats proactively. With an understanding of how and why to deploy these products and a basic understanding of the CVE program, you can maximize their value to your organization.