A Beginner’s Guide to Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures

In cybersecurity terms, a vulnerability is any weakness in your system that cyber attackers can exploit to perform unauthorized actions. These may include accessing system memory, installing different types of malware, or stealing and destroying sensitive data.


The CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) dictionary standardizes how software vulnerabilities are identified and tracked. This allows accurate tracking across various platforms and vendors, facilitating enhanced cybersecurity measures.

Vulnerabilities are weaknesses in the infrastructure that cyberattackers can exploit to access systems and steal data. These weaknesses range from a misconfigured cloud storage system to an unprotected USB port. These weaknesses can also allow attackers to run code, access system memory, or install different types of malware.

 The CVE dictionary contains a unique identifier for each entry, a vulnerability description, and references to additional information. The description includes the scope of a vulnerability (whether it affects resources outside of its software), if user interaction is required, and if it is known to be actively exploited in the wild. It also specifies whether a vulnerability is insecure by default.


When a vulnerability is discovered, a CVE identifier is assigned. These standardized identifiers facilitate tracking and communicating vulnerabilities across diverse platforms, vendors, and technologies. This is accomplished by CVE Numbering Authorities (CNAs) collaborating within a centralized system to identify and communicate software weaknesses accurately.

A vulnerability is a weakness in a computer system that hackers can exploit to access it or perform unauthorized actions. Attackers can use this exploitation to run code, access memory, install different types of malware, and steal, destroy, or modify sensitive information.

Vulnerabilities may be discovered by security researchers, vendors, or users. Once discovered, they are documented in a public database known as the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) list. It is a crucial source of vulnerability information used by cybersecurity professionals to coordinate their efforts to prioritize and fix flaws in computer systems.

Scoring systems

Organizations used to develop their methods for scoring software vulnerabilities, but the need for more consistency and transparency created a problem from one company to the next. A base CVSS score consists of six metrics: exploitability, scope, and impact. These metrics include the ease of attack, the attack vector, and the required privileges. Scope indicates whether a vulnerability in one component can propagate to other components, as would happen with a Remote Code Execution (RCE) attack.

The Temporal and Environmental groups include additional metrics that can influence the final severity score. For instance, the Redemption Level (R.L.) metric varies based on whether the attacker needs to recruit a willing or unknowing user to participate in the attack. This can also depend on if the attacker can operate autonomously, with no user interaction at all.


Vulnerabilities can be reduced by implementing internal controls tailored to your organization’s needs. This includes establishing a process for regularly identifying and reporting vulnerabilities and implementing cybersecurity measures to protect your data from criminals.

Vulnerability mitigation strategies can also include educating employees to recognize and respond to cyber threats. This will help prevent cyberattacks from happening in the first place and can also speed up the time that a vulnerability is detected and resolved.

CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) is a dictionary-type reference system or list of publicly known information security flaws. Each vulnerability in the database has a unique identifier that helps vendors, researchers, and cybersecurity professionals communicate about them. A CVE entry typically includes an identifier number, a status indicator, a brief description, and references to related vulnerability reports and advisories.


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