BLOG: What Are Vulnerabilities?

The cyber threat landscape is endlessly evolving and advancing, the vulnerability management system that organizations have should be a continuous and repetitive practice to ensure protection. A vulnerability management program that’s exclusive to an organization’s requirements and demands should utilize vulnerability databases to stay current on the latest known vulnerabilities that might affect your systems or software.

It is key that organizations take the right measures to prevent and prohibit their cybersecurity vulnerabilities from being exploited by threat actors. A report published by cybersecurity professionals found that the global security and vulnerability management market is expected to grow from USD 6.7 billion in 2020 to USD 15.86 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 9% during the forecast period 2021-2030.

A cybersecurity vulnerability is any fault or defect in your computer system, its security procedures, internal controls, or design and implementation, which could be exploited to violate the system’s security policy.

Vulnerabilities can be classified into six categories:

  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Personnel
  • Network
  • Organizational
  • Physical site

Vulnerability management is the repeated practice of identifying, classifying, remediating and mitigating cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities should be categorised by severity and prioritised actions to remediate them. How critical a vulnerability is should dictate how quickly it is remediated.  

Threat actors can easily circumvent traditional and basic cybersecurity tools to gain access, alongside this outdated security defences will not be able to mitigate any risk or effectively respond and investigate endpoints. Organizations should invest in modern endpoint detection and response tools.

Weak network segmentation and monitoring can allow cybercriminals to gain full access to the systems in your network subnet once they’ve gained initial access. This vulnerability is common in many large enterprise networks and has led to attackers compromising new systems and maintaining access for longer periods. It’s especially difficult for large organizations to monitor their networks, as hundreds or thousands of systems may be communicating simultaneously and sending outbound traffic.

Inadequate and weak management of credentials and lack of authentication is one of the most common causes of compromises and breaches for organizations. Organizations should execute strict password regulations that require multi-factor authentication, more complex passwords, longer passwords and regular password changes.

Organizations conduct regular security awareness training exercises, including phishing tests, pretexting, and additional social engineering as needed. Employee training should be contextual and relevant to their job functions, and you should track success or failure rates to make sure there’s an improvement.

New vulnerabilities are constantly being identified, known vulnerabilities often remain unpatched and attackers attempt to exploit them in large numbers. Unidentified vulnerabilities also pose risk to your organization and are potentially exploitable via zero-day exploits.

A zero-day exploit (learn more here) exploits an unknown vulnerability and threat actors use these types of vulnerabilities to launch malicious attacks on individuals, organizations and institutions with adverse effects.

One of the largest vulnerability databases is run by MITRE, called Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs). MITRE assigns CVEs a vulnerability score using the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) to reflect the potential risk a vulnerability could pose to your organization.

Orpheus Vulnerability Severity Score (OVSS) uses our cyber threat intelligence, Machine Learning, and other features to give every CVE a score, allowing organizations to filter vulnerabilities on their network by those that are the most serious. Without this approach to risk-based CVE management, it is incredibly difficult to know which vulnerabilities to patch first and this enables organizations’ to prioritise. To find out more click here.