[This was originally published on the OSVDB blog.]
CVE, managed by MITRE, a ‘sole-source’ government contractor, who gets as much as one million dollars a year from the government (or more) to run the project, is a confusing entity. Researchers who have reached out to CVE for assignment or clarification on current assignments, have gone 10 days without answer (as of 2014-11-15 late night). Yet look at their actual assignments the past week:
X N 924 Nov 10 firstname.lastname@example.org (22K) [CVENEW] New CVE CANs: 2014/11/10 06:00 ; count=17
X N 931 Nov 11 email@example.com (25K) [CVENEW] New CVE CANs: 2014/11/11 17:00 ; count=32
X N 932 Nov 11 firstname.lastname@example.org (18K) [CVENEW] New CVE CANs: 2014/11/11 18:00 ; count=18
X N 938 Nov 12 email@example.com (7514) [CVENEW] New CVE CANs: 2014/11/12 11:00 ; count=5
X N 962 Nov 13 firstname.lastname@example.org (12K) [CVENEW] New CVE CANs: 2014/11/13 10:00 ; count=9
X N 986 Nov 13 email@example.com (7139) [CVENEW] New CVE CANs: 2014/11/13 19:00 ; count=4
X N 995 Nov 14 firstname.lastname@example.org (7191) [CVENEW] New CVE CANs: 2014/11/14 10:00 ; count=3
X N 1015 Nov 14 email@example.com (6076) [CVENEW] New CVE CANs: 2014/11/14 21:00 ; count=3
X N 1035 Nov 15 firstname.lastname@example.org (5859) [CVENEW] New CVE CANs: 2014/11/15 15:00 ; count=2
X N 1037 Nov 15 email@example.com (9615) [CVENEW] New CVE CANs: 2014/11/15 16:00 ; count=7
X N 1043 Nov 15 firstname.lastname@example.org (9034) [CVENEW] New CVE CANs: 2014/11/15 19:00 ; count=4
X N 1045 Nov 15 email@example.com (7539) [CVENEW] New CVE CANs: 2014/11/15 20:00 ; count=3
X N 1046 Nov 15 firstname.lastname@example.org (5885) [CVENEW] New CVE CANs: 2014/11/15 21:00 ; count=2
Impressive! Until you read between the lines. Mon, 17 entries. Tues, which is MS (32) / Adobe (18) release day, and those numbers are obvious… as it only covers those two vendors. Then 5 on Wed, 13 on Thurs, 6 on Friday… and then 21 on the weekend? Why is a government contractor, who has a long history of not working or answering mails on the weekend, doing what appears to be overtime on a weekend?
Meanwhile, the 10th we have 32 entries, 11th we have 100 entries, 12th we have 92 entries, 13th we have 56 entries, 14th we have 42 entries, and the 15th we have 11 entries. That is 109 entries this week from CVE, where 50 of them (almost half) were Microsoft and Adobe. Meanwhile, we have 337 entries over those same days. That doesn’t count our backfill for historical entries, from those ‘old days’ back in earlier 2014 or 2013, that we are constantly doing.
Tonight, when matching up the Nov 15 CVE entries, we had 100% of the CVE assignments already. Remind me, where is the value of CVE exactly? They are assigning these identifiers in advance, that is obvious. But for most disclosures they are simple and straight-forward. They aren’t being used to coordinate among multiple vendors. The researchers or vendors are including the CVE identifier *before* CVE actually publishes them.
What led me to this post is that CVE is actually working on a weekend, which is very odd. Unless you mail Steve directly you generally don’t hear back from CVE until later in the week. OSVDB / RBS has outstanding mail to both Steve Christey and CVE regarding previous assignments and other things, un-answered for 10 or more days currently. The entire purpose of CVE is to provide this ID for coordination and clarity. When they ignore such a mail, especially from a ‘trusted’ source, it speaks poorly on them. Given the level of government funding they receive, how are they not keeping up with disclosures throughout the week and instead, turning to a Saturday?
And please remember, the Saturday CVE assignments mentioned above won’t appear on CVE’s site for another day, and won’t be in NVD for at least 24 hours. Once NVD gets them, they won’t have a CVSS score or CPE data for a bit after. By a ‘bit’ I mean between a few hours and a few weeks.
This is fail on top of fail. And your security solutions are built on top of this. Yeah, of course this is a losing battle.