Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures

Definition of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is a public, standardized list of known cybersecurity vulnerabilities and exposures in software and hardware. This dictionary-like reference system is maintained by the MITRE Corporation and is aimed at providing a common language for security experts and organizations to share data, remediate threats, and enhance overall security measures. By promoting the use of unique identifiers, called CVE Identifiers, it supports the effective and consistent communication of information across various security tools and systems.


The phonetics of the keyword “Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures” is:/ˈkɒmən vʌlnərəˈbɪlɪtiz ənd ɪkˈspoʊʒərz/

Key Takeaways

  1. Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is a publicly available dictionary that provides a standardized method for identifying and defining cybersecurity vulnerabilities, helping organizations enhance their security posture.
  2. CVE assigns a unique identifier (CVE ID) to each vulnerability, which allows security researchers, vendors, and IT professionals to easily track and communicate information about specific vulnerabilities, streamlining remediation efforts and risk assessment.
  3. The CVE database is continually updated by the CVE Numbering Authorities (CNAs) and the cybersecurity community, fostering collaboration and facilitating a more proactive approach to security vulnerability management.

Importance of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is an essential term in the technology field as it represents a crucial component in maintaining the security of digital assets and systems.

CVE is a standardized reference system that helps the global technology community by providing unique identification and public descriptions of security vulnerabilities in software and hardware.

Its importance lies in facilitating the swift sharing of information and insights necessary to deal with cyber threats, allowing security experts, researchers, and vendors to collaborate and coordinate their responses efficiently.

This collaborative security approach fosters an environment where potential risks are addressed, mitigating cyber attacks and contributing to a robust and reliable digital landscape.


Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is a critical resource within the cybersecurity landscape, aimed at standardizing and cataloging known security vulnerabilities and exposures found in computer systems or software. The purpose of this international database is to facilitate the sharing of data across institutions, enabling organizations and individuals to better collaborate on identifying, tracking, and mitigating cybersecurity threats that can potentially lead to breaches or attacks.

By providing a unique identifier for each vulnerability, CVE enables a common reference point for cybersecurity professionals and researchers, allowing them to cross-reference findings and responses to various security issues. The usefulness of CVE lies in its ability to not only keep a substantial record of known threats, aiding in the professional community’s understanding of the risks posed by emerging technologies or software, but it also promotes efficiency in threat management.

With this publicly available catalog, security practitioners can prioritize and respond more effectively to threats that demand immediate attention, while software developers can integrate vulnerability information to improve and update their products for enhanced security. Consequently, CVE acts as a valuable tool in building a more secure digital infrastructure for organizations worldwide, as it facilitates the detection and resolution of vulnerabilities, thus reducing the likelihood of adversaries exploiting them for malicious purposes.

Examples of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is a catalog of known security threats and vulnerabilities in software and hardware systems. The CVE’s purpose is to help organizations, researchers, and other stakeholders to share information about vulnerabilities and their potential impacts.

Heartbleed Vulnerability (CVE-2014-0160): Heartbleed is a serious security vulnerability that existed in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This vulnerability allowed hackers to steal sensitive information, such as passwords and encryption keys, from the memory of affected systems. Discovered in 2014, Heartbleed affected a wide range of software applications and web servers, leading to major security concerns worldwide.

WannaCry Ransomware (CVE-2017-0144): WannaCry was a devastating ransomware attack that exploited CVE-2017-0144, a vulnerability in Microsoft’s implementation of the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. It enabled the rapid spread of the ransomware across networks, encrypting data and demanding ransom payments from the victims. The WannaCry attack affected hundreds of thousands of computers across 150 countries in 2017, causing widespread disruption and financial losses.

BlueKeep Vulnerability (CVE-2019-0708): BlueKeep is a critical security vulnerability affecting Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) implementation in certain versions of Windows. It allows an attacker to remotely execute code on a vulnerable system without authentication, making it particularly dangerous and resulting in warnings from both Microsoft and government agencies. If exploited, this vulnerability could have allowed attackers to gain unauthorized access to systems, steal data, or even create a large-scale, self-propagating malware campaign similar to the WannaCry attack.

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures FAQ

What are Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE)?

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is a publicly available and freely accessible list of known cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Each entry in the CVE list contains an identification number, a brief description, and a reference to public documents discussing the vulnerability in detail.

Who manages the CVE system?

The CVE system is managed by the non-profit organization MITRE Corporation, which is funded and supported by the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

What is the purpose of the CVE system?

The primary objective of the CVE system is to standardize the identification of vulnerabilities and provide a common vocabulary for discussing and sharing information about them. This allows organizations and security professionals worldwide to collaborate more effectively to address cybersecurity threats and make systems more secure.

What is a CVE Identifier (CVE ID)?

A CVE Identifier (CVE ID) is a unique identification number assigned to a specific vulnerability in the CVE list. CVE IDs consist of the acronym “CVE” followed by a hyphen, the year the vulnerability was publicly disclosed, and a series of four or more digits.

How are CVEs discovered?

CVEs are discovered through various methods, including research by cybersecurity experts, security vendors, and industry professionals, or by analyzing security incidents, breaches, and malware. When a new vulnerability is discovered, it is assigned a CVE ID and added to the CVE list.

What is the National Vulnerability Database (NVD)?

The National Vulnerability Database (NVD) is a U.S. government repository that maintains comprehensive data on CVEs. It provides additional information, such as Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) scores, impact ratings, and access to remediation resources, which can help organizations better understand the risks associated with a specific vulnerability and take appropriate action.

Related Technology Terms

  • Zero-day vulnerability
  • Patch management
  • Penetration testing
  • Exploit
  • Vulnerability assessment

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