A New Generation Of Critical Vulnerabilities

Cyber security professionals should be concerned about the fact that more than two thirds of vulnerabilities recorded in 2020 require no user interaction of any kind to exploit. Attackers exploiting these vulnerabilities don’t even need their targets to unwittingly perform an action, such as clicking a malicious link in an email. This means that attacks can easily slip under the radar.   
 
According to a  new report from Redscan a record number of critical and high severity vulnerabilities were logged to the US National Institute of Standards (NIST) Vulnerability Database NIST NVD in 2020.  Redscan's analysis shows  a notable rise in lo the large volume of vulnerabilities which now require user privileges and this one of the reasons why phishing remains a primary tactic of cyber criminals.
 
Users with a high degree of privileges, such as system administrators, are a prize target because they are able to open more doors for attackers. 
 
NIST logged more than 18,000 vulnerabilities in 2020, over 10,000 of which were critical or high severity which is an all-time high. Redscan’s analysis looks beyond severity scores, detailing the rise of low complexity vulnerabilities as well as those which require no user interaction to exploit. These trends may be of concern to security teams, highlighting the need for organisations to focus patch management efforts and adopt a multi-layered approach to vulnerability management. 
 
There are also positive trends, such as a decrease in Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE)s which require no privileges to exploit.  Key findings include:  
 
  •  More security vulnerabilities were disclosed in 2020 (18,103) than in any other year to date – at an average rate of 50 CVEs per day.
  • 57% of vulnerabilities in 2020 were classified as being ‘critical’ or ‘high’ severity (10,342).
  • Low complexity CVEs are on the rise, representing 63% of vulnerabilities disclosed in 2020. 
  • Vulnerabilities which require no user interaction to exploit are also increasing, representing 68% of all CVEs recorded in 2020.
  • Vulnerabilities which require no user privileges to exploit are on the decline (from 71% in 2016 to 58% in 2020.
  • 2020 saw a large spike in physical and adjacent vulnerabilities, likely due to the proliferation of IoT and smart devices in use and being tested by researchers. 
Analysis of the NIST NVD presents a mixed outlook for security teams, according to George Glass, Head of Threat Intelligence at Redscan. "Vulnerabilities are on the rise, including some of the most dangerous variants. However, we’re seeing more positive signs, including a drop in the percentage of vulnerabilities which require no user privileges to exploit... When analysing the potential risk that vulnerabilities pose, organisations must consider more than just their severity score."
 
Many CVEs are never or rarely exploited in the real world because they are too complex or require attackers to have access to high level privileges.  Underestimating what appear to be low risk vulnerabilities can leave organisations open to ‘chaining’, in which attackers move from one vulnerability to another to gradually gain access at increasingly critical stages. 
 
Identifying which vulnerabilities to prioritise is a perennial challenge in IT security, especially as the number of CVEs only continues to grow. To aid decision-making, security teams need a practical understanding of the potential impact vulnerabilities pose and how readily they are being exploited in the wild. 
 
Defence in depth is also important. Not all vulnerabilities are known and patched, so persistent attackers may eventually find a way to breach an organisation’s defences. Best practice lies in having supplementary controls in place, such as continuous network and endpoint monitoring, to mitigate risks.
 
NIST Vulnerability Analysis 2020:
 
You Might Also Read: 
 
Connected Devices Must Be More Secure:
« Facebook Unfriends Australia
New Cyber Training For Security Professionals »

Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

IT Governance

IT Governance

IT Governance is a leading global provider of information security solutions. Download our free guide and find out how ISO 27001 can help protect your organisation's information.

BackupVault

BackupVault

BackupVault is a leading provider of completely automatic, fully encrypted online, cloud backup.

DigitalStakeout

DigitalStakeout

A simple and cost-effective solution to monitor, investigate and analyze data from the web, social media and cyber sources to identify threats and make better security decisions.

Cylance Smart Antivirus

Cylance Smart Antivirus

An antivirus that works smarter, not harder, from BlackBerry. Lightweight, non-intrusive protection powered by artificial intelligence. BUY NOW - LIMITED DISCOUNT OFFER.

Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory

Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory

Free Access: Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory listing 5,000+ specialist service providers.

Clayden Law

Clayden Law

Clayden Law are experts in information technology, data privacy and cybersecurity law.

Authentic8

Authentic8

Authentic8 transforms how organizations secure and control the use of the web with Silo, its patented cloud browser.

CYRIN

CYRIN

CYRIN® Cyber Range. Real Tools, Real Attacks, Real Scenarios. See why leading educational institutions and companies in the U.S. have begun to adopt the CYRIN® system.

MIRACL

MIRACL

MIRACL provides the world’s only single step Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) which can replace passwords on 100% of mobiles, desktops or even Smart TVs.

Perimeter 81

Perimeter 81

Perimeter 81 is a Zero Trust Network as a Service designed to simplify secure network, cloud and application access for the modern and distributed workforce.

Kaseya

Kaseya

Kaseya Traverse enables you to get to the bottom of problems quickly via root cause analysis, across Cloud, on-premise, hybrid Cloud, virtualized and distributed IT environments.

Redbud

Redbud

Redbud is a specialist search and recruitment firm for Information Security professionals.

Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICT Authority)

Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICT Authority)

The ICT Authority is responsible for enforcing ICT standards in Government and ensuring information security.

NewGens

NewGens

NewGens is a solution and service provider to banking institutions in the APAC region. Areas of expertise include cybersecurity, AML, fruad prevention, compliance and risk management.

Cyber Science

Cyber Science

Cyber Science is the flagship conference of C-MRiC, focusing on pioneering research and innovation in Cyber Situational Awareness, Social Media, Cyber Security and Cyber Incident Response.

Zerodium

Zerodium

Zerodium is the leading exploit acquisition platform for premium zero-days and advanced cybersecurity research.

CyberSecurityMastersDegree.org

CyberSecurityMastersDegree.org

Our mission at CyberSecurityMastersDegree.org is to serve as a comprehensive and completely unbiased resource for anyone interested in earning a master’s degree in cybersecurity.

ITsMine

ITsMine

ITsMine’s Beyond DLP™? solution is a leading Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solution used by organizations to protect against internal and external threats automatically.