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  • Writer's pictureJohn Cook

CVSS 4.0: The Evolution from CVSS v1 to CVSS v3

The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) is a commonly employed framework for evaluating the severity of vulnerabilities in computer systems and software. It provides organizations with a standardized method for prioritizing and addressing security vulnerabilities according to their potential impact.

CVSS has undergone numerous updates and enhancements over the years to better reflect the evolving threat landscape and provide more precise vulnerability ratings. This article will examine the distinctions between CVSS v1 and the most recent version, CVSS 4.0.

CVSS v1: The Foundation

2005 marked the introduction of CVSS v1, which served as the foundation for subsequent versions. It provided a basic framework for evaluating vulnerabilities, but it had some limitations that required attention.

One of the most significant shortcomings of CVSS v1 was its lack of granularity. It relied on a limited number of metrics to evaluate vulnerabilities, making it difficult to accurately distinguish between various types and severity levels of vulnerabilities. Additionally, CVSS v1 failed to take into account temporal variables like the accessibility of exploits or the degree of remediation, both of which are crucial in determining the true risk a vulnerability poses.

CVSS v3: A Comprehensive Approach

The 2015 release of CVSS v3 introduced significant enhancements to address the deficiencies of its predecessor. It aimed to provide a more thorough and precise evaluation of vulnerabilities by incorporating additional metrics and temporal factors.

The introduction of Base, Temporal, and Environmental metric groups is one of CVSS v3's most notable modifications. These groups enable a more thorough evaluation of vulnerabilities by considering factors such as the impact on the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the affected system, as well as its exploitability and level of remediation.

CVSS v3 also introduced a scoring range of 0 to 10, replacing CVSS v1's previous scoring range of 0 to 10+. This modification permits a more accurate rating of vulnerabilities and facilitates a more accurate comparison and ranking of security issues.

The inclusion of exploitability metrics is a further significant enhancement of CVSS v3. These metrics consider attack vector, complexity, and required privileges to provide a more accurate evaluation of the likelihood of exploitation.

CVSS v3 also considers temporal factors through its Temporal Metrics group. This group considers factors such as exploit code maturity, remediation level, and report confidence, allowing organizations to assess the actual risk posed by a vulnerability at a given time.

CVSS 4.0: The Next Level

The latest version of the framework, CVSS 4.0, is in the process of being developed at this time. The primary objective is to augment the precision and usability of CVSS by rectifying certain constraints that were identified in CVSS v3.

An important enhancement of CVSS 4.0 is the Base metrics group's increased granularity. By conducting a more comprehensive assessment of vulnerabilities, this approach will consider various elements, including user interaction, privilege requirements, and attack complexity.

In addition, CVSS 4.0 incorporates a novel metric known as Scope, which evaluates the extent to which a vulnerability affects both the compromised system and its immediate surroundings. This metric will assist organizations in prioritizing their responses in accordance with a greater comprehension of the potential repercussions of a vulnerability.

CVSS 4.0 also tries to make the scoring system clearer and more consistent by improving the definitions of metrics and the numbers that go with them. Organizations will find it more convenient to analyze and contrast vulnerability ratings obtained from various sources.

In conclusion, CVSS has evolved significantly from its initial version, CVSS v1, to the current version, CVSS 4.0. The introduction of additional metrics, consideration of temporal factors, and increased granularity have made CVSS a more comprehensive and accurate framework for assessing vulnerabilities. As the threat landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial for organizations to stay updated with the latest version of CVSS to effectively prioritize and address security vulnerabilities.



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