What is a CWE ?

Similar to the article written on CVEs, in this article we will answer the questions :
What is CWE ? and, what is the difference between a CVE to a CWE ?

CWE which stands for Common Weakness Enumeration, is a Cataloging method/system that was made by the community – for the community, it’s main site and system is sponsored by the National Cybersecurity FFRDC (federally funded research and development center), which is operated by The MITRE Corporation.

It’s also worth mentioning that besides the National Cybersecurity FFRDC, the project also receives a lot of support from other government divisions and departments such as the National Cyber Security Division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, something that illustrates to us just how important it is that this list will be updated, well organized and built without personal biases since it’s impact can be huge.

The Weaknesses, which are also called Vulnerabilities, are flaws and defects found in both softwares and hardware components, and because of them we may be exposed to a certain attack.

The CWE’s main purpose is to express the type of general weakness so that all the people interested in talking and handling with it know it’s globally common name, gathering a number of individual cases and combining them into one case.

Now, we will answer the second question we asked in the beginning.

What is the difference between a CVE to a CWE ?

CVE which stands for Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures refers to a specific instance of a vulnerability within a certain product or system. for example ; CVE-2022-34786, talks about the fact that Jenkins Rich Text Publisher Plugin 1.4 and earlier does not escape the HTML message set by its post-build step, resulting in a stored cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability that can be exploited, this describes a single scenario where XSS is possible.

on the other hand, CWE refers to the types of software and hardware weaknesses, rather than specific instances of vulnerabilities.

For example : CWE-79 talks about Improper Neutralization of Input which may lead to vulnerabilities based on exploiting cross-site scripting, instead of a single scenario.

Let’s put it this way, if we have a group of Animals, and an animal named Dog.
Then, the CWE would refer to Animals and the CVE will refer to the Dog.

The National Vulnerability Database (NVD, in short), actually uses CWEs to score the CVEs based on their severity and so on.

A list that addresses both development and security practitioners communities is quite vast.

It’s main goal is to stop vulnerabilities at the source by educating software and hardware architects, preventing these vulnerabilities from occurring in the first place.

Ultimately, the use of CWE helps prevent the kinds of security vulnerabilities that have plagued the software and hardware industries and put enterprises at risks since the the dawn of the information age.

CWE helps us to :

  • Describe and discuss software and hardware weaknesses in one common language so that everyone understands.
  • To check for weaknesses/vulnerabilities in an already existing softwares and hardware products, since no one is perfect, it’s always good to use the knowledge of others in order to correct our own.
  • Evaluate coverage of tools targeting these weaknesses, also called Resources and Risks Management.
  • Leverage a common baseline standard for weakness identification, mitigation, and prevention efforts.
  • Prevent software and hardware vulnerabilities in the development stage and thus preventing the opportunities of exploiting them.

Since we are talking here about information security, of course it is important to understand that such a list needs to be and is updated at any given time!

You can download or view the list online, I personally recommend watching it online, since it’s enough that an hour has passed from when you downloaded it, the list may no longer be up to date!

It’s important to know your site is immune to all weaknesses that appear at any moment.

We at Kayran, do our best so that our tool knows to identify vulnerabilities that are being updated and discovered every given moment, so that you will always be safe.

Stay safe, choose Kayran.

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