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Re: CD PROPOSAL: HIGHCARD (Interim Decision 8/24)

>Content Decision: HIGHCARD (High Cardinality, Innumerable Vulnerabilities)


>(Member may vote ACCEPT, MODIFY, REJECT, or NOOP.)
>Short Description
>In some cases, a particular "class" may have so many vulnerabilities
>that it will cause a significant increase in the number of entries in
>the CVE (High Cardinality).  If those vulnerabilities cannot be
>enumerated (Innumerable), then they are combined into a single
>higher-level vulnerability.
>For general guidance, any "class" of more than 100 vulnerabilities may
>be considered High Cardinality, unless that class is well-understood
>and accepted by the community (e.g. "buffer overflow.")  The
>vulnerabilities in a "class" may be considered Innumerable if there
>are no well-defined ways to distinguish between the vulnerabilities,
>or if they are of a theoretically infinite cardinality.
>High cardinality vulnerabilities can dominate the CVE, reducing the
>usefulness to the sysadmin.  They can skew quantitative comparisons
>between databases and inherently bias the comparisons towards
>vulnerability databases that use high cardinality vulnerabilities
>extensively.  In addition, they can increase the overhead for the
>maintenance of the CVE, as well as maintenance of mappings from
>databases to the CVE.
>High cardinality vulnerabilities are especially risky for
>vulnerabilities that do not have a well-understood language for
>describing them, e.g. configuration problems.  Often, these types of
>vulnerabilities are also Innumerable.
>In some cases, the Editorial Board may agree that it makes conceptual
>sense to specify individual vulnerabilities, even if they are high
>cardinality.  The Board should make these considerations on an ad hoc
>The set of all "system-critical" files in Unix is Innumerable.
>Certain files can be identified, e.g. password files, login scripts,
>or batch files, but often the specific configuration of a machine
>includes a large number of files that are unique to that machine.
>The set of all default passwords may be High Cardinality, but it is
>Enumerable, as the password itself (a) is known, and (b) can serve as
>the discriminator from other passwords.  Thus it will be up to the
>Board to determine whether it makes conceptual sense to have a single,
>high-level vulnerability, or divide them into specific entries.

Page Last Updated: May 22, 2007