What IS a security vulnerability, anyway?

There was an internal discussion, and someone pointed to this article written by Scott Culp that describes what a "Security Vulnerability" is.

It's actually a cool article, and rather nicely points out the definition of a vulnerability:

A security vulnerability is a flaw in a product that makes it infeasible – even when using the product properlyto prevent an attacker from usurping privileges on the user's system, regulating its operation, compromising data on it, or assuming ungranted trust.

It also explains what all the terms in this definition mean - for instance:

…usurping privileges on the user's system…
Usurping: Privilege elevation vulnerabilities involve assuming unauthorized capabilities.

Examples: A flaw that allows an administrator to change the permissions on any file on the computer would not be a security vulnerability, because an administrator already has this capability. In contrast, if a flaw allowed an unprivileged user to do the same thing, it would constitute a security vulnerability.

I've got to say that I like this definition, especially after it's been spelled out in detail.

Comments (1)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice post – it’s a great thought provoking article including lots of uncommon sense!

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