The Research Group has developed tools that objectively track and report on operational risk associated with software applications, operating systems and hardware.
I have seen a number of “Most Risky” lists that seem to be subjective and crafted by nothing more than a few Google searches and a popularity contest. In response, here is a “Top 10” list, filtered for Applications, sorted by overall vulnerability per issue, weighted by age of issue.
Top 10 Applications
Top 25 Overall
Why 25? It is easier to show that software risk is time sensitive, objective and accurate with a larger list. My current list as of this week tracks 14813 products from almost as many vendors.
Our risk metrics are collected automatically and sorted. Members of the team correct discrepancies introduced by bad data, and then the results are generated using statistical queries on MySQL.
http://nvd.nist.gov is the official datasource for the risk information.
The ordered output is generated by an algorithm that scores a weighted value for each CVE based on the risk and age of that CVE, and then totals all the weighted CVEs across the life of a product. Such total scores are then compared one to another. In this way, an application that has been out for a very short time could make the top of the list if it had more security issues of high criticality over its release life than most applications.
The complete report segments out software by type (hardware, application, OS, platform), license (commercial, FOSS) and is generated weekly. The results are then compared to NVD’s Workload Index calculation in order to give an IT manager an accurate understanding of resource requirements to manage software issues. The report is available for a reasonable fee. To subscribe to the complete report, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top 25 Software
UPDATE: For the FOSS (free and open source software) list, go to https://fossbazaar.org/content/2008-risk-report-foss.
The lists review vulnerabilities reported historically to the National Vulnerability Database and sorts them. The reported vulnerabilities are weighted by their individual risk, then weighted by their historic age, where newer issues are more relevant than older issues, all else being the same.
Software risk is a way of highlighting the management requirements imposed by software within an environment. Complex software may impose a greater management load than simple software. Tracking risk and vulnerabilities is a way that security and infrastructure managers can predict and deploy people and processes to actively manage the issues associated with certain types of software.
Risky software is not bad?
Tires wear out over time, asphault roads need to be repaved frequently, roofs need to be replaced, plumbing leaks once in a while. The requirement to maintain systems and to expect systems to require greater maintenance based on what these systems do is normal. Expecting software to be without issues is unreasonable and naive.
Risk is good?
Of course it is. If risk management is a process of ongoing maintenance, a healthy and interactive commnity participating in the discovery and reporting of risk issues improves the software. Failing to manage complex software, regardless of free or proprietary licensing, that is risky.
Complex software needs to have strong support and an active community. It is a greater risk to use a complex application that has no reported vulnerabilities than one that has many issues. Use the best software for the task. It may be risky, based on discovered issues. Understand that if your management process includes testing, validation of reported issues, and application of patches as available, your risk is incredibly low. If you can update your running software within 30 days of patch releases, your exposure is minimal, and you have an objective process to use complex and quality software within your environment.
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