Vulnerabilities are weaknesses leveraged by adversaries to compromise the confidentiality, availability or integrity of a useful resource. The vulnerability ecosystem has matured significantly in the previous few years. A big quantity of effort has been invested to seize, curate, taxonomize and talk the vulnerabilities when it comes to severity, influence and complexity of the related exploit or assault.

Standardization within the description of vulnerabilities contributes not solely to efficient risk intelligence sharing but in addition to doubtlessly environment friendly risk administration if organizations, distributors and safety researchers make use of vulnerability administration methods and practices to actively search to find the vulnerabilities and reply in a well timed trend.

Important efforts are being made to standardize this data to scale back communication limitations and complexity, resulting in a more practical evaluation of vulnerabilities and a greater understanding of the context inside which totally different vulnerabilities are found.

Nonetheless, as a result of challenges of categorizing vulnerabilities, these efforts are fraught with problem. Vulnerability knowledge could be incomplete, inaccessible or inaccurate, and the standard of the ensuing data has an influence on resolution making, insurance policies, and practices. Furthermore, the vulnerability disclosure is influenced by quite a lot of elements, together with monetary incentives, the agenda of the disclosing stakeholder and the interplay of the assorted actors. Moreover, it’s necessary to notice that that is all carried out in a extremely dynamic data safety market.

The ENISA Report on the State of Vulnerabilities

To establish and spotlight all the problems pertaining to efficient vulnerability data sharing, ENISA collaborated with CERT-EU and academia to research and supply perception into each the alternatives and limitations that the vulnerability ecosystem provides.

Utilizing the vulnerabilities printed through the yr of 2018 and Q1-Q2 of 2019 as a car, the ENISA “State of Vulnerabilities 2018/2019” report makes an attempt to reply questions associated to the reliability, accuracy of the vulnerability sources and the extensively accepted analysis metrics. This research goals to handle these challenges by finishing three aims:

  1. Symbolize the state of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in a kind that enables stakeholders to make knowledgeable selections on cybersecurity investments.
  2. Comprehensively analyze and correlate vulnerability knowledge to higher contextualize vulnerabilities.
  3. Analyze vulnerability knowledge from a high quality and reliability perspective.

Moreover, the report leverages the ATT&CK vulnerability taxonomy to discover and establish extra intrinsic relationships and traits. The tip objective of the report is to assist the data safety neighborhood, public/personal organizations and distributors to make knowledgeable selections about patching, prioritization of safety controls and to enhance their danger evaluation course of.

Vulnerabilities’ Standardization

Regularly, disclosed vulnerabilities are uniquely recognized in accordance with the Frequent Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) referencing system developed by MITRE. Nonetheless, not all publicly disclosed vulnerabilities have an related CVE-ID. Vulnerabilities saved personal and never publicly disclosed are sometimes called “zero-day vulnerabilities,” and the corresponding exploits are known as zero-day (0day) exploits.

The severity of the influence of a vulnerability is outlined utilizing the Frequent Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) maintained by the Discussion board of Incident Response and Safety Groups (FIRST). It’s typically supplied as a qualitative worth (Low, Medium or Excessive) primarily based on a quantitative calculation derived from the traits of particular person vulnerabilities. The present CVSS model is v3.1, carried out in June 2019, however values are sometimes quoted for vulnerabilities previous to June 2015 when was printed.

The trendy vulnerability lifecycle depicted within the determine beneath identifies important milestones and occasions that outline danger transitioning boundaries. The importance of dangers will increase as vulnerabilities set off the creation of the related exploits and reduce when the patches turn into out there.

Threat Intelligence Analysis of VulnerabilitiesDetermine 1: Vulnerability Lifecycle. Supply: ENISA

Key Findings

The report offers an intensive evaluation of the vulnerabilities’ datasets from January 2018 to August 2019. It’s is value studying it to study a number of the key findings.

It’s obvious there are inconsistencies and discrepancies between the totally different sources. Though there may be an authoritative database capturing vulnerability particulars, this doesn’t suggest that the data in that database is correct. These inconsistencies have sure implications for organizations. Relying solely on one supply – regardless of how authoritative it might be – will lead a corporation to doubtlessly miss very important vulnerability data that impacts their techniques. As well as, though able to offering reference for assessing, understanding and contrasting the influence and severity of vulnerabilities, the CVSS scoring system doesn’t essentially make up the “floor fact,” as different stakeholders might have a special view on the severity of a vulnerability.

Evaluating the vulnerabilities over ATT&CK ways, it’s also evident that there’s an uneven distribution. Protection Evasion, Persistence and Discovery are the popular ways for the exploits whereas Exfiltration, Preliminary Entry and Impression ways aren’t represented within the dataset.

Threat Intelligence Analysis of VulnerabilitiesDetermine 2: Vulnerabilities vs ATT&CK ways and CVSS v3 base rating. Supply: ENISA

There are important variations between the 2 vulnerability measurement techniques (CVSS v2 and CVSS v3) relating to the underlying recorded values, as properly, which results in totally different severity classifications. That is presumably attributed to the totally different wording of the specific variables, thus making a subjective bias that will, in flip, have an effect on the danger administration, planning and decision-making processes.

Threat Intelligence Analysis of VulnerabilitiesDetermine 3: CVSS2 vs CVSS3. Supply: ENISA

Microsoft has the best variety of vulnerabilities (600), which is greater than 50% increased than the runner-up, Qualcomm. From an ATT&CK framework perspective, Cisco and Canonical have extremely scoring vulnerabilities throughout the vary of the ways, whereas Microsoft is ranked among the many lowest.

Threat Intelligence Analysis of VulnerabilitiesDetermine 4: Distributors with most CVEs. Supply: ENISA

The exploit publication date of CRITICAL vulnerabilities is near the vulnerability publication date, with probably the most exploits being printed shortly earlier than or after the vulnerability publication date.

The highest 10 weaknesses account for nearly two thirds (64%) of the vulnerabilities.

Most exploits goal net and client-side associated vulnerabilities.

A substantial quantity of exercise surrounds vulnerabilities that don’t enter the CVE ecosystem, or in the event that they do, it occurs at a really late stage. Utilizing the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) dataset, ENISA concluded that there are statistically important variations between the severity degree of CVE (formally recorded) and non-CVE vulnerabilities (i.e. those who weren’t listed or included within the CVE databases), with the latter exhibiting a better rating.

Not less than 8.65% of the vulnerabilities are exploitable. This quantity is anticipated to be increased resulting from zero-day exploits and the incompleteness of the datasets.


The ENISA report is a sign of the potential to generate intelligence, make knowledgeable selections, and carry out danger evaluation workout routines on software program vulnerabilities. The systematic efforts of the pc safety neighborhood to create a taxonomy and develop databases populated by structured vulnerability descriptors pave the way in which for a deeper exploration of the vulnerability ecosystem.

Tripwire is a robust proponent of an efficient vulnerability administration program. You might study extra by studying this anthology.

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