Vulnerabilities / Threats

There May Be a Ceiling on Vulnerability Remediation

Most organizations are doing all they can to keep up with the release of vulnerabilities, new research shows.

Security has no shortage of metrics — everything from the number of vulnerabilities and attacks to the number of bytes per second in a denial-of-service attack. Now a new report focuses on how long it takes organizations to remediate vulnerabilities in their systems — and just how many of the vulnerabilities they face they're actually able to fix.

The report, "Prioritization to Prediction Volume 3: Winning the Remediation Race," by Kenna Security and the Cyentia Institute, contains both discouraging and surprising findings.

Among the discouraging findings are statistics that show companies have the capacity to close only about 10% all the vulnerabilities on their networks. This percentage doesn't change much by company size.

"Whether it was a small business that had, on average, 10 to 100 open vulnerabilities at any given time, they had roughly the same percentage of vulnerabilities they could remediate as the large enterprises, where they had 10 million-plus open vulnerabilities per month," says Ed Bellis, CTO and co-founder of Kenna Security, 

In other words, Bellis said, the capacity to remediate seems to increase at approximately the same rate as the need to remediate. "The size thing that tipped us off that there might be some upper threshold on what organizations were able to to fix in a given time frame," says Wade Baker, partner and co-founder of the Cyentia Institute., 

The time frame for remediating vulnerabilities differs depending on the software's publisher. Microsoft and Google tend to have software with vulnerabilities remediated most quickly by organizations both large and small, Bellis says. The software with the longest remediation time? Legacy software and code developed in-house.

There are also dramatic differences in time to remediate between companies in different industries. Investment, transportation, and oil/gas/energy led the way in the shortest time to close 75% of exploited vulnerabilities, hitting that mark in as few as 112 days. Healthcare, insurance, and retail/trade took the longest for remediation, needing as much as 447 days to hit the milestone.

Data suggests that some organizations are able to do better than the averages — in some cases, remediating more vulnerabilities than were discovered and actually getting ahead of the problem. What the researchers don't yet know is precisely what those high-performing companies are doing that is different. That, they say, is the subject of the next volume of their research.

Related Content:

 

 

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Crowdsourced vs. Traditional Pen Testing
Alex Haynes, Chief Information Security Officer, CDL,  3/19/2019
BEC Scammer Pleads Guilty
Dark Reading Staff 3/20/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Well, at least it isn't Mobby Dick!
Current Issue
5 Emerging Cyber Threats to Watch for in 2019
Online attackers are constantly developing new, innovative ways to break into the enterprise. This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at five emerging attack trends and exploits your security team should look out for, along with helpful recommendations on how you can prevent your organization from falling victim.
Flash Poll
The State of Cyber Security Incident Response
The State of Cyber Security Incident Response
Organizations are responding to new threats with new processes for detecting and mitigating them. Here's a look at how the discipline of incident response is evolving.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-9945
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-23
SoftNAS Cloud 4.2.0 and 4.2.1 allows remote command execution. The NGINX default configuration file has a check to verify the status of a user cookie. If not set, a user is redirected to the login page. An arbitrary value can be provided for this cookie to access the web interface without valid user...
CVE-2019-9942
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-23
A sandbox information disclosure exists in Twig before 1.38.0 and 2.x before 2.7.0 because, under some circumstances, it is possible to call the __toString() method on an object even if not allowed by the security policy in place.
CVE-2018-20165
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-22
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in OpenText Portal 7.4.4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the vgnextoid parameter to a menuitem URI.
CVE-2019-1716
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-22
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Software for Cisco IP Phone 7800 Series and Cisco IP Phone 8800 Series could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to cause a denial of service (DoS) condition or execute arbitrary code. The vulnerability ...
CVE-2019-1763
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-22
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Software for Cisco IP Phone 8800 Series could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to bypass authorization, access critical services, and cause a denial of service (DoS) condition. The vulnerability exist...