About CVE

    Why CVE
    How CVE Works
    Widespread Adoption
    CVE Community
    Take the Next Step


Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE®) is a list of common identifiers for publicly known cyber security vulnerabilities. Use of CVE Identifiers, or "CVE IDs," which are assigned by CVE Numbering Authorities (CNAs) from around the world, ensures confidence among parties when used to discuss or share information about a unique software or firmware vulnerability, provides a baseline for tool evaluation, and enables data exchange for cybersecurity automation.

CVE is:


With & Without CVE

CVE was launched in 1999 when most cybersecurity tools used their own databases with their own names for security vulnerabilities. At that time there was significant variation among products and no easy way to determine when the different databases were referring to the same problem. The consequences were potential gaps in security coverage and no effective interoperability among the disparate databases and tools. In addition, each tool vendor used different metrics to state the number of vulnerabilities or exposures they detected, which meant there was no standardized basis for evaluation among the tools.

CVE’s common, standardized identifiers provided the solution to these problems.

CVE is now the industry standard for vulnerability and exposure identifiers. CVE IDs — also called "CVE numbers," "CVE names," and "CVEs" by the community — provide reference points for data exchange so that cyber security products and services can speak with each other. CVE IDs also provides a baseline for evaluating the coverage of tools and services so that users can determine which tools are most effective and appropriate for their organization’s needs. In short, products and services compatible with CVE provide better coverage, easier interoperability, and enhanced security.

How CVE Works

Each CVE Entry includes:

  • CVE ID number (i.e., "CVE-1999-0067", "CVE-2014-10001", "CVE-2014-100001").
  • Brief Description of the security vulnerability or exposure.
  • Any pertinent References (i.e., vulnerability reports and advisories).

The process of creating a CVE Entry begins with the discovery of a potential security vulnerability.

The information is then assigned a CVE ID by a CVE Numbering Authority (CNA), the CNA writes the Description and adds References, and then the completed CVE Entry is added to the CVE List and posted on the CVE website by the CVE Team.

Widespread Adoption

The CVE List was officially launched for the public in September 1999 with 321 CVE Entries on the CVE List and 19 cybersecurity-community organizations participating on the initial CVE Editorial Board (now called the CVE Board).

The cybersecurity community endorsed the importance of CVE via "CVE-Compatible" products and services from the moment CVE was launched in 1999. As quickly as December 2000 there were 29 organizations participating with declarations of compatibility for 43 products. Today, those numbers have increased significantly with numerous products and services from around the world incorporating CVE IDs.

Another significant factor to adoption is the ongoing inclusion of CVE IDs in security advisories. Numerous major OS vendors and other organizations from around the world include CVE IDs in their alerts to ensure that the international community benefits by having the CVE IDs as soon as a problem is announced. In addition, CVE IDs are used to uniquely identify vulnerabilities in public watch lists such as the OWASP Top 10 Web Application Security Issues, in the report text and infographics of Symantec Corporation's "Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 19," and are rated by severity in the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS). CVE IDs are also frequently cited in trade publications and general news media reports regarding software bugs; such as CVE-2014-0160 for "Heartbleed."

Use of CVE by U.S. agencies was recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in "NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-51, Use of the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Vulnerability Naming Scheme," which was initially released in 2002 and updated in 2011. In June 2004, the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)issued a task order for information assurance applications that requires the use of products that use CVE Identifiers.

CVE has also been used as the basis for entirely new services. NIST's U.S. National Vulnerability Database (NVD)—a "comprehensive cybersecurity vulnerability database that integrates all publicly available U.S. Government vulnerability resources and provides references to industry resources"—is synchronized with, and based on, the CVE List. NVD also includes Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) mappings for CVE IDs. SCAP is a method for using specific standards to enable automated vulnerability management, measurement, and policy compliance evaluation (e.g., FISMA compliance) and CVE is one of the open community standards SCAP uses for enumerating, evaluating, and measuring the impact of software problems and reporting results. In addition, the U.S. Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC) requires verification of compliance with FDCC requirements using SCAP-validated scanning tools. CVE Change Logs is a tool created by CERIAS/Purdue University that monitors additions and changes to the CVE List and allows users to obtain daily or monthly reports. Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language (OVAL), operated by the Center for Internet Security, is a standard for determining the machine state of a computer systems using community-developed OVAL Vulnerability Definitions that are based primarily on CVE Entries. MITRE's Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE™) is a formal dictionary of common software weaknesses that is based in part on the 90,000+ CVE Entries on the CVE List.

And in 2011, the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU-T) Cybersecurity Rapporteur Group, which is the telecom/information system standards body within the treaty-based 150-year-old intergovernmental organization, adopted CVE as a part of its new "Global Cybersecurity Information Exchange techniques (X.CYBEX)" by issuing Recommendation ITU-T X.1520 Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE), was based upon the former CVE Compatibility Program’s archived Requirements and Recommendations for CVE Compatibility document.

Today, CVE is actively expanding the CVE Numbering Authorities (CNAs) Program. CNAs are how the CVE List is built. Every CVE Entry added to the list is assigned by a CNA. Numerous organizations from around the world already participate as CNAs, with more and more organizations deciding to join the CVE effort and become a CNA.

CVE Community

CVE is an international cybersecurity community effort. In addition to the contributions of the CVE Numbering Authorities, CVE Board, and the CVE Sponsor, numerous organizations from around the world have included CVE IDs in their security advisories, have made their products and services compatible with CVE, and/or have adopted or promoted the use of CVE.

CVE Numbering Authorities

CVE Numbering Authorities (CNAs) are vendors and projects, vulnerability researchers, national and industry CERTs, and bug bounty programs that assign CVE IDs to newly discovered issues without directly involving the CVE Team in the details of the specific vulnerabilities, and include the CVE IDs in the first public disclosure of the vulnerabilities.

Learn how to Become a CNA.

CVE Board

MITRE's Role

The MITRE Corporation currently maintains CVE and this public website, oversees the CNAs and CVE Board, and provides impartial technical guidance throughout the process to ensure CVE serves the public interest.

The CVE Board includes numerous cybersecurity-related organizations including commercial security tool vendors, academia, research institutions, government departments and agencies, and other prominent security experts, as well as end-users of vulnerability information. Through open and collaborative discussions, the Board provides critical input regarding the data sources, product coverage, coverage goals, operating structure, and strategic direction of the CVE Program.

CVE Sponsor

CVE is sponsored by US-CERT in the office of Cybersecurity and Communications at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. A list of past sponsors is available on the Sponsors page.

CVE Compatibility Guidelines for Products and Services

Numerous organizations from around the world have made their cybersecurity products and services compatible with CVE by incorporating CVE IDs. Please follow the CVE Compatibility Guidelines to make your product or service compatible with CVE.

Take the Next Step

We encourage you to incorporate CVE IDs into your products or research, become a CNA, adopt products and services that are compatible with CVE for your enterprise, and/or promote the use of CVE.

Please contact us for more information.

Page Last Updated or Reviewed: November 02, 2017