When known software vulnerabilities are unmanaged, uncorrected, or undetected, attack vectors are left open to exploit the software. As a result, vulnerable software becomes a key target that attackers can use to initiate an attack on an organization’s network and expand control to attack other components on the network. By managing these vulnerabilities, the level of effort needed to initiate such an attack and expand control to other components on the network is greatly increased. Automated assessment of known software vulnerabilities and weaknesses helps verify that the software vulnerability management capability is working. To facilitate this effort, NIST and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) researchers have developed an automated process to assess the effectiveness of the security controls that provide the information security capability known as Software Vulnerability Management (VULN), the focus of which is to manage risk created by defects present in software on the network.
NIST Interagency Report (NISTIR) 8011 Volume 4, Automation Support for Security Control Assessments: Software Vulnerability Management, provides an operational approach for automating security control assessments to manage vulnerabilities in software. This approach is consistent with the NIST Risk Management Framework as described in NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-37 and the guidance in NIST SPs 800-53 and 800-53A, in particular. A total of 13 volumes are planned for NISTIR 8011. Volumes 1 and 2 were published in 2017, and Volume 3 was published in 2018. Volume 4 provides details specific to the software vulnerability management security capability. Subsequent volumes will provide details specific to each capability and will be organized similarly to Volumes 2 through 4.
A public comment period for this document is open through December 20, 2019. See the publication details for a copy of the draft and instructions for submitting comments.
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