12 May 2016 A preliminary analysis of quantifying computer security vulnerability data in "the wild"
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Abstract
A system of computers, networks and software has some level of vulnerability exposure that puts it at risk to criminal hackers. Presently, most vulnerability research uses data from software vendors, and the National Vulnerability Database (NVD). We propose an alternative path forward through grounding our analysis in data from the operational information security community, i.e. vulnerability data from "the wild". In this paper, we propose a vulnerability data parsing algorithm and an in-depth univariate and multivariate analysis of the vulnerability arrival and deletion process (also referred to as the vulnerability birth-death process). We find that vulnerability arrivals are best characterized by the log-normal distribution and vulnerability deletions are best characterized by the exponential distribution. These distributions can serve as prior probabilities for future Bayesian analysis. We also find that over 22% of the deleted vulnerability data have a rate of zero, and that the arrival vulnerability data is always greater than zero. Finally, we quantify and visualize the dependencies between vulnerability arrivals and deletions through a bivariate scatterplot and statistical observations.
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Katheryn A. Farris, Sean R. McNamara, Adam Goldstein, George Cybenko, "A preliminary analysis of quantifying computer security vulnerability data in "the wild"", Proc. SPIE 9825, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security, Defense, and Law Enforcement Applications XV, 98250T (12 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2230589; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2230589
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