CVE - Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures:

What are Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE)?

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is a list that records publicly disclosed software vulnerabilities, as the name suggests. It is a dictionary that aims to facilitate data distribution across separate vulnerability databases and security tools.

Also known as:
CVE numbers, CVE–IDs and CVEs

CVE is not a database of vulnerabilities in and of itself. It does not contain any information about the risks, severity of vulnerabilities, business impact, and references to advisories and solutions. This data, along with CVSS scores and CPE and CWE data, is contained in a database known as the National Vulnerabilities Database (NVD). 

The primary goal of CVE is to standardise how a security vulnerability or risk is recognised — with a unique identifier, a description, and at least one public reference. In other words, it is merely a system of nomenclature for vulnerabilities. The structure of a CVE ID is illustrated below.

Who Maintains the CVE?

The MITRE corporation oversees the CVE programme. MITRE is a non-profit funded by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), part of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

How Does the CVE Program  Work? 

Every software has the potential to have multiple vulnerabilities. A user that happens to find a vulnerability can bring it to the notice of a CVE Numbering Authority (CNA). CNAs are major IT vendors, researchers, and bug bounty provider organisations authorised by the CVE program to assign CVE IDs.

When CNAs have found these vulnerabilities, they assign it a CVE ID, write a short description, and post it on the CVE website with references attached. A searched-up CVE on the CVE website looks like this:

The vulnerability is now accessible to the public and can ideally be avoided from existing in future programs.

Few, if any, unusual dangers are eligible to use CVE standards. The threat must coordinate with specified criteria to be considered a CVE flaw. These are some examples: 

  • The vulnerability must be free of several types of threats. This suggests that the expert should manage the weakness without considering too many distinct factors. 

  • The vendor being referred to must identify the weakness. The merchant must be aware of the threats that the weakness poses, and it must be required that the merchant be prepared to cause a security hazard or data breach.

What Is a CVE Identifier? 

A CVE identifier is a unique alphanumeric code assigned to a specific security vulnerability or exposure. It serves as a standardised reference for identifying and discussing a particular security issue. The CVE identifier typically includes a prefix, a year, and a sequence number, such as "CVE-2021-12345".

Advantages of CVE 

  • CVE enables organisations to establish a standard for analysing the robustness of their framework or organisation security. CVE's renowned identifiers allow organisations to comprehend what their security apparatus are prepared to achieve and how well they can protect the organisation. 
  • CVE denotes security warnings that can verify and detect threats and utilise CVE data for hunting for natural assault instances to identify particular flaws that may be exploited during a cyberattack. 
  • The NVD uses data from CVE, CNE, and several other databases to create a comprehensive list of all relevant data about a vulnerability, including references to advisories and solutions.


In conclusion, the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) system plays a vital role in standardising the recognition and classification of security vulnerabilities with its unique identifier, detailed descriptions, and public references. The National Vulnerability Database (NVD), closely synced with CVE, offers a comprehensive repository of vulnerability intelligence, providing valuable insights for IT and security professionals. By leveraging CVE and NVD, organisations can enhance their understanding of security risks, improve their security posture, and make informed decisions to protect their systems and data. 

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Read more about the National Vulnerability Database (NVD)

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q) What does CVE stand for?
    A) CVE stands for Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures.

  1. Q) Who developed the original exploit for the CVE?
    A) The MITRE Corporation’s David E. Mann and Steven M co-created the CVE in 1999 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA.

  1. Q) What are the common vulnerabilities and exposures number?
    A) Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) numbers are unique identifiers assigned to publicly known vulnerabilities in software or hardware systems. Each CVE number represents a specific vulnerability and is used to track and reference the associated security issue. 

  1. Q) What is a CVE example?
    A) An example of a CVE is CVE-2022-1994. It contains a vulnerability of OTPs which can allow admin users to perform Cross-Site Scripting attacks, even if unfiltered HTML is blocked.

  2. Q) Can hackers use this to break into my network?
    A) Any public discussion of vulnerability information may potentially assist hackers. However, there are several reasons why the benefits of CVE outweigh its risks:

  • CVE focuses exclusively on publicly known vulnerabilities, ensuring that no information being shared is not already accessible to potential attackers.

  • Sharing information within the cybersecurity community is a complex process involving various challenges and restrictions that make it more difficult than for hackers to obtain and exploit vulnerabilities.

  • Safeguarding networks and addressing all possible security flaws requires extensive efforts from organisations, whereas hackers can exploit a single vulnerability to compromise a network quickly.

  • The cybersecurity community strongly advocates for information sharing, as demonstrated by the involvement of key professionals and organisations in CNAs, CVE Working Groups, and the CVE Board. This collective support ensures responsible and strategic disclosure of vulnerabilities.