The NVD Disruption: Navigating Through Uncertainty in Cybersecurity

The NVD Disruption Navigating Through Uncertainty in Cybersecurity (1)

The NVD Disruption: Navigating Through Uncertainty in Cybersecurity

In recent weeks, a significant disruption has unfolded at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), impacting its National Vulnerability Database (NVD) and, by extension, the global cybersecurity landscape. The NVD, a cornerstone in the cybersecurity defense mechanisms of organizations worldwide, has faced unprecedented delays and gaps in its analysis of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) since February 12, 2024.

The Heart of the Issue

The NVD’s analysis process has nearly ground to a halt, with a staggering 42% of CVEs lacking critical metadata such as severity scores (CVSS) and affected product information. This hiatus in analysis not only leaves over 2,400 entries unenriched but also poses a direct threat to organizations that rely on this database for vulnerability prioritization and remediation. The absence of timely data hampers their ability to make informed decisions regarding patch management and risk mitigation strategies, significantly increasing their vulnerability to potential breaches.

Understanding the Crisis & Its Repercussions

The National Vulnerability Database (NVD), operational since 2005, has played a pivotal role in the cybersecurity infrastructure by documenting vulnerabilities reported by global security researchers. Recently, the NVD experienced a significant disruption, posting a cryptic notice about “delays in analysis efforts” due to new tool and method implementations by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This vague announcement left the cybersecurity community in the dark, as no additional explanations were provided.

This disruption has notably decreased the operational tempo of NVD updates, with a stark reduction in the number of vulnerabilities being processed. Before this freeze, NIST would update CVEs with crucial metadata, which could take weeks or months after the initial discovery. Now, almost half of the 6,000 new CVEs reported since the start of the year lack essential details, such as which software is affected—information critical for assessing the severity and required response to these vulnerabilities.

As the cybersecurity community continues to navigate this challenging landscape, the need for a systematic and adaptive approach to vulnerability management is underscored. The concept of Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) becomes even more relevant, providing a structured method to continuously assess and address vulnerabilities, particularly in the context of such disruptions.

What is CTEM?

Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) is a comprehensive framework designed to tackle the ever-expanding threat landscape, where vulnerabilities and attack surfaces are on the rise due to the proliferation of technologies like OT, IoT, CPS, and SaaS. CTEM extends beyond traditional vulnerability management by considering misconfigurations, counterfeit assets, and susceptibility to phishing, among other risks. At its core, CTEM is about making informed decisions on what vulnerabilities can be postponed based on business risk, thereby avoiding diagnostic fatigue without relevant business context. This approach demands a shift from generic, rarely-actioned remediations to prioritizing risk reduction strategies that integrate a wide set of exposures. By focusing on the exploitability and impact of threats in relation to an organization’s digital and physical assets, CTEM provides a structured workflow for continuous and consistent threat exposure management. This not only helps in maintaining a dynamic security posture over time but also ensures that the organization’s approach to cybersecurity is both actionable and aligned with its business objectives.

The Solution: Uni5 Xposure by Hive Pro

HiveForce Labs, the in-house R&D team at Hive Pro, has developed a sophisticated system to classify and manage exposure findings in Uni5 Xposure effectively, particularly during periods of disruption like the recent challenges faced by the NVD.Uni5 Xposure differentiates itself by delivering specific contextual insights that go beyond the generic metadata typically provided by NVD. Through the capabilities of HiveForce Labs, the platform provides:

  1. Continuous Reporting and Contextualization: Even when NVD entries are delayed or missing, including published CVEs pending analysis that lack critical metadata such as severity (CVSS) scores and affected product information, Uni5 Xposure remains vigilant. For those thousands of vulnerabilities receiving the status “AWAITING”, or that lack critical metadata, we continuously gather and analyze vulnerability data from various resources and enrich. We enrich the information received or compensate for the gaps with threat intelligence that is specifically contextualized to your enterprise’s environment. This extensive data collection includes, but is not limited to, geographical location, industry vertical, and asset criticality—each of which is crucial for implementing tailored security measures. With this information, you are assured continuous, focused, and contextualized data against all vulnerabilities.
  2. Dynamic Threat Evaluation: The platform evaluates the likelihood of threats being exploited in the wild and the efficacy of compensatory controls. In situations where scoring may be low or unavailable, Uni5 Xposure can simulate attacks to provide realistic risk assessments, helping organizations prioritize their responses more effectively.
  3. Implementation of IoCs: Whenever indicators of compromise (IoCs) are available, Uni5 Xposure aids in swiftly implementing safeguarding measures, enhancing the organization’s defensive posture against active threats.
  4. Coverage of Non-CVE Vulnerabilities and Misconfigurations: Recognizing major blind spots in the CVE system, Uni5 Xposure addresses non-CVE vulnerabilities and security findings, including critical misconfigurations. This coverage is essential as these issues often go unreported in NVD, yet pose significant risks.

The backlog and contextless nature of entries in the NVD create a significant challenge in vulnerability management. Uni5 Xposure overcomes these issues by not only providing real-time insights but also ensuring that vulnerabilities, including those not yet analyzed or recorded by NVD, are identified and addressed promptly. By integrating advanced machine learning models with expert human analysis, the platform ensures the accuracy and relevance of its findings, thereby enhancing the overall security posture of organizations.

By leveraging Uni5 Xposure, organizations gain unprecedented visibility into their attack surface, enabling them to proactively address vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by adversaries. This proactive approach not only compensates for the shortcomings of the NVD but also enhances Hive Pro’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively to emerging threats, ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations.