Exposure Management
3 Min

The Convergence of Continuous Threat Surface Testing and Data-Driven Vulnerability Prioritization through EPSS

Enhancing Vulnerability Remediation: The Art of Prioritization

In the realm of vulnerability remediation, security teams grapple with two essential realities. Firstly, the vast quantity of discovered vulnerabilities makes immediate remediation an unattainable goal. Studies indicate that organizations can only tackle a modest 5% to 20% of known vulnerabilities monthly. Secondly, a minuscule proportion (2% to 7%) of reported vulnerabilities are ever exploited in real-world scenarios. These facts emphasize the critical importance of effective prioritization strategies, as organizations are neither capable nor required to resolve every vulnerability immediately.

The ideal strategy for prioritizing vulnerability remediation lies in the intelligent fusion of multiple metrics. This is where the Exploit Prediction Scoring System (EPSS), devised by the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST.org), plays a crucial role in estimating the likelihood of exploitation attempts against a vulnerability within the upcoming 30 days. Harnessing this exploitability metric enables organizations to make well-informed decisions on which vulnerabilities to tackle first, ultimately enhancing their overall security posture.

EPSS is a community-driven initiative designed to refine vulnerability prioritization by assessing the probability of exploiting a vulnerability. This is achieved by integrating descriptive information about Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) with real-world exploitation evidence. The EPSS model generates a probability score that ranges from 0 to 1 (0% to 100%), where a higher score signifies a greater likelihood of a vulnerability being exploited within the next 30 days.

The EPSS proves to be an indispensable asset for security teams seeking to optimize their remediation strategies. By offering an evidence-based probability score, the system empowers organizations to concentrate on the most critical vulnerabilities that have a higher chance of being exploited soon. This targeted approach allows organizations to utilize their limited resources efficiently, maximizing their security posture while minimizing the risk of succumbing to cyberattacks.

The Role of EPSS in Vulnerability Remediation:

The Significance of EPSS in Vulnerability Remediation:

EPSS plays a vital role in vulnerability remediation by estimating the likelihood of exploitation attempts based on historical exploits and gathering pertinent information about each vulnerability. This data-driven methodology proves advantageous when evidence is absent for active exploitation. However, when intelligence or evidence of ongoing exploitation activity is accessible, such information should take precedence over the EPSS estimate.

It is imperative to acknowledge that EPSS solely estimates the probability of a vulnerability being exploited without considering specific environmental factors, compensating controls, or the potential consequences of a successful exploit. Although EPSS should not be perceived as a comprehensive representation of risk, it can serve as one of the critical components in an all-encompassing risk analysis.

Utilizing EPSS with NST Assure Platform:

NST Assure platform offers threat informed, continuous, autonomous penetration testing services to identify and remediate vulnerabilities in digital infrastructure. Integrating EPSS improves vulnerability prioritization capabilities, allowing organizations to focus on critical vulnerabilities efficiently.

Incorporating EPSS as a critical component for prioritizing vulnerabilities, NST Assure platform uses data-driven exploitability scores to determine which vulnerabilities are more susceptible to exploitation within 30 days. This approach helps organizations effectively allocate resources, diminish the risk of cyberattacks, and bolster their overall security posture.

In summary, NST Assure leverages EPSS to enhance vulnerability prioritization, strengthening security and mitigating cyberattack risks for organizations.

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