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What is Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures?

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is a list of publicly disclosed vulnerabilities and exposures, offering standardized identifiers that enable cybersecurity professionals to easily share and access information about specific cyber threats across multiple sources, aiding in vulnerability management and risk assessment. It serves as a valuable resource for organizations to stay informed about known security flaws, prioritize remediation efforts, and evaluate the coverage of their security tools.

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Explained

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is a comprehensive list of publicly disclosed information security vulnerabilities and exposures. It was launched in 1999 by the MITRE Corporation, a nonprofit organization that operates federally funded research and development centers in the United States. CVE provides a standardized dictionary of vulnerabilities and exposures to help organizations improve their cybersecurity strategies.

What is the difference between Vulnerabilities and Exposures?

A vulnerability refers to a weakness in a computer system or software that can be exploited by attackers to gain unauthorized access or perform unauthorized actions. It can enable attackers to run malicious code, access system memory, install malware, or steal, modify, or destroy sensitive data.

On the other hand, an exposure is a mistake or misconfiguration that provides an attacker with access to a system or network. It can lead to data breaches, data leaks, and the unauthorized disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII).

What Vulnerabilities Qualify for CVE?

To be categorized as a CVE vulnerability, a vulnerability must meet certain criteria:

  • It should be independent of other issues, meaning it can be fixed separately from other vulnerabilities.
  • The vulnerability must be acknowledged by the vendor, meaning the vendor is aware of the security risk it poses.
  • The vulnerability should be a proven risk, supported by evidence that it violates the vendor's security policies.
  • If the vulnerability affects multiple vendors due to shared protocols, standards, or libraries, a separate CVE is assigned for each affected vendor, unless the shared component cannot be used without including the vulnerability.

CVE Identifiers

CVE assigns a unique identifier, called a CVE Identifier or CVE ID, to each vulnerability or exposure entry. The format of a CVE ID is "CVE-YYYY-NNNNN," where YYYY represents the year the CVE ID was assigned or the year the vulnerability was made public, and NNNNN is a sequential number.

For example, CVE-2022-12345 refers to a vulnerability or exposure identified in the year 2022 with the sequential number 12345. These identifiers allow security professionals to access information about specific cyber threats across multiple sources using the same common name.

What is the Goal of CVE?

The goal of CVE is to facilitate the sharing of information about known vulnerabilities and exposures, enabling cybersecurity professionals to update their strategies with the latest security flaws and issues. CVE achieves this by providing a standardized identifier for each vulnerability or exposure, allowing for easy correlation and analysis of data across different sources and tools.

By referencing CVEs, security advisories can search for known attack signatures and remediate critical exploits as part of digital forensics processes. It also enables organizations to evaluate the coverage of their security tools and compare them with others.

What is Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS)?

The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) is a set of open standards used to assess the severity and impact of vulnerabilities. CVSS assigns a numerical score to a vulnerability, ranging from 0.0 to 10.0, with higher scores indicating higher severity. CVSS provides a consistent and standardized way to evaluate vulnerabilities across different platforms and organizations.

The common CVSS categories are as follows:

  • None (0.0): The vulnerability has no impact.
  • Low (0.1-3.9): The vulnerability has a low impact.
  • Medium (4.0-6.9): The vulnerability has a moderate impact.
  • High (7.0-8.9): The vulnerability has a high impact.
  • Critical (9.0-10.0): The vulnerability has a critical impact.

CVSS scores are used by various organizations, including the National Vulnerability Database (NVD), CERT, and security tool vendors like UpGuard, to assess the impact and prioritize the remediation of vulnerabilities.

Where is the Latest Version of the CVE List?

The latest version of the CVE list can be found on the official CVE website maintained by MITRE at cve.mitre.org. The CVE list is publicly accessible and free to use. However, to effectively determine which vulnerabilities affect your organization, additional tools and resources may be required. Many organizations use tools that monitor changes in the CVE list and provide notifications for vulnerabilities that are relevant to their specific systems and software.

New CVE identifiers are added to the list on a daily basis. It is recommended to utilize sophisticated tools that automate vulnerability monitoring for your organization and its vendors. Incorporating vulnerability management into your overall risk management and information security processes, including vendor risk management and third-party risk management frameworks, is crucial in maintaining a robust cybersecurity posture.


Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is a valuable resource for organizations in the field of cybersecurity. It provides a standardized dictionary of publicly disclosed vulnerabilities and exposures, allowing for easy correlation of data and information sharing. By referencing CVEs, organizations can assess the coverage of their security tools, prioritize remediation efforts, and stay informed about the latest security flaws. The use of CVSS scoring further assists in evaluating the severity and impact of vulnerabilities. The latest version of the CVE list can be accessed on the official CVE website.


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