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Re: The CVE-10K Problem (fwd)

My first attempt to post to the list was rejected due to an email 
address change.  Here it is again;  please scroll down, my answer has 2 

Steven M. Christey wrote:
> 4) Keeping the year, and extending the numeric portion to 5 digits.

I'd much prefer #4 because it doesn't introduce new semantics, and it is 
simple.  The fact that the year portion is crude is a separate 
quality/budget issue (see below).  I would also use 6 digits instead of 
5, so this doesn't happen ever again (I hope), and because I see the 
scope of the CVE as international, there could be a lot more entries as 
more countries start developing more software (e.g., India;  see below 

> Handling over, say, 20K issues in a year would likely require a
> paradigm shift within the entire vulnerability information management
> industry.  As Dave Mann has pointed out to me numerous times, the
> growth in the number of vulns is outpacing the growth in CVE funding,
> which has been mostly flat with respect to content generation itself,
> with increasing risks of our funding actually being reduced (I don't
> think most people understand why good vulnerability information isn't
> cheap.)  Anyway, I suspect that this growth problem is hurting other
> vuln databases/products, too.  We're already seeing some of that
> paradigm shift; the Board gave up voting a while ago due to the amount
> of effort, you're seeing more generic vulnerability database entries
> with more mistakes (probably being made by less experienced analysts
> with less editorial oversight), the percentage of verified issues is
> probably smaller, etc.

Funding for the CVE should be a requirement for the DHS, at whatever 
level is needed for it to function correctly and without undue stress on 
team members.  The CVE is a necessary foundation for vulnerability 
handling and research (or as I said before, "the key"), and many aspects 
of security.   From what I surmise the strain is at a critical level and 
if funding isn't increased the CVE will cease to be useful and worth 
doing -- this is close to an all or none operation.  The more 
vulnerabilities are "missed" the more useless it is, and I'd venture 
that it would have close to zero usefulness if any more than 50% of the 
vulnerabilities were missed, not to mention correctness issues.  It 
would be just as useless as a dictionary missing common words, or having 
words with the wrong definition.

If the CVE team can't be funded at a sufficient level, I regretfully 
suggest that the time and effort of its talented members would be better 
spent elsewhere, at a more rewarding activity.  We would suffer greatly 
from that, but if we as a society are not willing to pay for it, we 
don't deserve it.

In actuality, the CVE should be a global, international project because 
all of IT in the world benefits from it and depends on it.  Also, 
vulnerabilities are more and more being generated worldwide (e.g., 
through branches or offshoring).  Perhaps a European CVE effort could be 
started, funded by the EU (or an Indian effort, etc...). Ultimately (and 
I don't know what mechanisms and hassle that implies) it should be 
funded at a global level, and the numbering done by a global 
organization like WHO or IMF.  Just by curiosity, what is the make-up of 
the editorial board?  Is there any international presence?

Pascal Meunier
Purdue University CERIAS

Page Last Updated or Reviewed: May 22, 2007