The Role of CVEs in Vulnerability Management: Best Practices for Businesses
A vulnerability is a weakness or design flaw that makes a system more susceptible to attack. Both accidental exposures and sophisticated cyber attacks can result in data breaches and unauthorized access to sensitive information.
CVEs provide standardized identification numbers for vulnerabilities and exposures. This allows security professionals to use a single identifier when searching for specific threats across different information sources.
Develop a Vulnerability Management Strategy
A vulnerability management program is necessary for any business with an online presence or complex network. In addition to helping to ensure your network is resilient against attacks, a strong vulnerability management strategy also helps you keep abreast of the latest cyber threats. This is especially important for organizations that operate Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and similar critical infrastructure because of the risk that attackers can use vulnerabilities in these types of systems to cause significant damage or even take control of the entire organization.
Vulnerabilities and exposures often need to be acted upon more quickly when they’re known. This is because there’s a window between when vulnerabilities are publicly disclosed and mitigated across all software users, which attackers can exploit.
To effectively reduce the risks of network vulnerabilities, it’s essential to use automated scanning tools that constantly monitor your systems. These tools are key in promptly identifying new vulnerabilities and help in reorganizing and focusing remediation efforts based on the latest information. This method, a hallmark of sophisticated network tools, such as network security services by Bishop Fox, is crucial in ensuring strong and adaptable network security amidst a constantly changing digital threat environment.
Create a Vulnerability Response Plan
A good vulnerability response plan will help ensure your team can act promptly. Your team may need to contain an attack, eradicate malware or threats, and then bring production systems back online carefully so that the same issue doesn’t occur again. The plan should also outline how to handle recovery and what steps you will take to learn from the incident to prevent similar attacks in the future.
Vulnerabilities are discovered in various ways, including manual analysis, automated tools, bug bounties, or reporting to the vendor or project responsible for the software or hardware. The vulnerability is then identified and assigned a CVE number, which is used to reference the vulnerability worldwide.
As more information about the vulnerability becomes available, the CVE list is updated. While there are ongoing discussions about whether or not it’s appropriate to disclose vulnerability information publicly, it’s generally accepted that the benefits outweigh the risks.
As the threat landscape evolves, a robust vulnerability management program like Fortinet’s Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures rundown is critical for protecting your organization from malicious actors. You can minimize the impact of vulnerabilities by integrating vulnerability scanning into your DevOps pipeline and using predictive prioritization to reduce the time and effort needed to find and fix them.
Create a Vulnerability Assessment
A vulnerability assessment is necessary to identify and evaluate security weaknesses in your systems and networks. This includes cloud-based systems and mobile devices as well. Vulnerability assessments also need to be fast and non-intrusive to avoid affecting performance. This is where an intelligent scanner can scan quickly and thoroughly without interfering with your applications or network speeds.
Vulnerability management needs to be a constant process. That means regularly conducting a vulnerability assessment (weekly or monthly) to understand how your risk posture has developed. You can then use this information to develop an action plan to get where you want to be.
During the scanning phase of your vulnerability assessment, you will need to determine which systems and networks to scan and what data is critical. This allows you to focus on the vulnerabilities that pose the most severe threat.
Once a vulnerability is discovered, it must be evaluated and assigned a CVE number. This can be done manually by a researcher or security expert or via automated tools and bug bounties. The affected vendor or project should be contacted and asked to report the vulnerability to assess and resolve the issue.
A successful vulnerability assessment will provide a detailed list of vulnerabilities identified as well as the severity level of each one. It will also include a breakdown of the vulnerabilities found and recommendations for addressing them.
Create a Vulnerability Monitoring Plan
The risk of a vulnerability going unremedied is a significant threat to any business. Cyber attackers will quickly find a way to exploit a vulnerable application, service, or endpoint if no protection is in place. A comprehensive vulnerability management program must be in place to limit this risk.
In addition to ensuring that scans are documented and reported regularly, your team needs a plan for assessing vulnerabilities, prioritizing remediation efforts, and re-assessing results. This vulnerability management process identifies, classifies, prioritizes, and manages flaws across your business’s systems. The program also establishes governance structures, improves cybersecurity maturity, and mitigates risk through a vulnerability management framework.
Using the CVE as a familiar identifier for security vulnerabilities helps to streamline this vulnerability monitoring effort. However, there is still a need to take a deeper look at each security issue in your organization. Assessing each issue’s relevance and severity will help prioritize and guide your teams.
When ranking your vulnerabilities, the primary metric is how difficult it would be for a threat actor to exploit them. If a vulnerability requires an uncommon configuration to exploit, it might only affect a few applications or services within your environment and, thus, be of medium severity. However, if the vulnerability is more widespread and impacts many core functionality in your application, it should be considered highly severe.