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Executive Summary Dashboard

by Josef Weiss
March 30, 2022

Monitoring the current state of an organization's Cyber Exposure initiative and measuring the organization's cyber risk are key responsibilities of security analysts. Security analysts can leverage Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) metrics, vulnerability state and other high-level metrics, to provide security management information that identifies which steps in the life cycle need attention or are missing altogether. This dashboard consolidates several of these key metrics to identify and measure cyber risk.

There are metrics for five severity levels: Information, Low, Medium, High and Critical. Information has no risk associated with the finding, and only provides information for an analyst. Low through Critical severities are based on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) score. CVSS scores capture the principal characteristics of a vulnerability and produce a numerical score, which is translated into a severity. Although a vulnerability's severity score is based on CVSS, other considerations, such as additional mitigations may warrant assigning the vulnerability a higher or lower severity. Tenable.io uses both quantitative (CVSS Score) and qualitative (severity) information about an organization's vulnerabilities in a comprehensive view.

The CVE List is a data structure that contains vulnerability identification information. CVEs allow many security products and software companies to report a common vulnerability. Once a vulnerability is reported, plugins are created for Tenable.io to detect the vulnerability. When high visibility vulnerability exploitation occurs, such as Log4j https://www.tenable.com/log4j, executives may ask “Are we vulnerable to CVE-2021-44228?” Tenable.io is an essential platform for reporting on CVE metrics.

The “vulnerability state” metric is native to Tenable.io. This metric reports on the status of a vulnerability. There are four states: New, Active, Fixed and Resurfaced. The state New indicates vulnerabilities that were first detected on assets within the last 14 days. The Active state indicates vulnerabilities that are currently present on the network and are causing increased risk. The Fixed state indicates vulnerabilities that are no longer present. A vulnerability in the Resurfaced state indicates that the vulnerability has returned. This means that Tenable.io detected that at some point the vulnerability was present, then removed (Fixed) and has now returned. This could be due to a scanning issue, or software that was reinstalled or downgraded.

Review and analyze these metrics to have a better understanding of the stability of the Cyber Exposure Life Cycle within the organization. Cyber Exposure is an emerging discipline to manage and measure the modern attack surface to accurately understand and reduce cyber risk. The discipline helps executives to better direct and focus mitigation efforts and report using industry-accepted metrics. Tenable.io facilitates the implementation of the five Cyber Exposure Life Cycle steps and provides a common place to analyze vulnerability data.

Widgets

  • Vulnerabilities by State - This widget provides a view into the vulnerability life cycle. Tracking vulnerabilities through each state provides management information on the progress of risk mitigation efforts. Each column represents an elevated level of risk. The first column, Exploitable, shows the count of vulnerabilities that are known to be exploitable regardless of severity. The next three columns show vulnerability counts based on severity.
  • Most Prevalent Vulnerabilities Discovered in the Last 14 Days - This chart provides a summary view of the most prevalent medium, high and critical severity vulnerabilities that have been detected within the last 14 days. The filters in this widget use the vulnerability state to identify the new vulnerabilities.
  • Top 100 Vulnerabilities with Patch Available More than 120 Days - This table provides a list of vulnerabilities that have had a patch available for over 120 days. The filter "Patch Published" is used to track when a patch was released by the software vender. The date range of 120 days was selected to fall within a normal patch cycle of 90 days, with a 30-day scan buffer. Any vulnerabilities shown in this table can be easily mitigated. If this table is always full, there could be a problem with the patch deployment process
  • Top 100 Most Vulnerable Assets - This table presents a list of the top most vulnerable assets at risk for exploitation. Information is filtered by vulnerabilities of high or critical severity that are exploitable, and is sorted by total vulnerabilities. The data on detected vulnerabilities enables analysts to prioritize remediation efforts. Using this widget, analysts are able to easily identify the top vulnerabilities to mitigate to reduce the organization's overall attack surface.
  • Asset Count by Operating System - This bar chart provides a count of assets by operating system. The chart displays the top most prevalent operating systems on the network.
  • Vulnerabilities by CVE - This table provides executives with a list of CVEs that are present on the network. The table is sorted by severity so that the most critical CVEs are shown at the top of the table. The Host Total column presents the number of assets affected by each CVE, while the Total column displays the number of vulnerabilities found.
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