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Volume 32, Issue 2

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Wednesday, 12 June 2019 15:17

Predicting Vulnerability Weaponization

Advances in data science are making it possible to shift vulnerability management from a reactive to a proactive discipline

Keeping pace with the endless deluge of security vulnerabilities has become one of the truly Sisyphean tasks for enterprise IT and security teams. Every operating system, device, and application is a potential source of vulnerabilities. This can include the traditional laptops and servers that power an organization but also extends to virtual machines, cloud-based assets, Internet of Things, mobile devices, and the list goes on.

To make matters worse, the rate at which new vulnerabilities are being discovered has accelerated. A quick check of the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) shows that historically the industry would expect to see around 5,000 to 7,000 common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) released each year. However, in 2017 that number spiked to 14,649, continued to climb to 16,515 in 2018, and shows no signs of slowing down. These numbers are likely underrepresenting the total number of vulnerabilities in the real world given that many platforms are not covered by CVE Numbering Authorities (typically, these are vendors or researchers that focus on specific products).