It is important to understand precisely what a vulnerability is. A vulnerability is some flaw in a system that an attacker could exploit to attack the system.


The most common list of vulnerabilities is the CVE list. Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is a list maintained by the Mitre Corporation at It is not only the most common, but also the most comprehensive vulnerability list. The CVE list was designed to provide a common name and description for a vulnerability. This allows security professionals to communicate effectively about vulnerabilities. In the past, CVEs had been designated by a CVE ID in the format of CVE-YYYY-NNNN. This format only allows 9,999 unique identifiers per year. The new format is CVE prefix + Year + Arbitrary Digits and allows for any number of digits.


The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology maintains a database of vulnerabilities that you can access at NIST also uses the CVE format. For example, CVE-2017-12371 is described as “A ‘Cisco WebEx Network Recording Player Remote Code Execution Vulnerability’ exists in Cisco WebEx Network Recording Player for Advanced Recording Format (ARF) and WebEx Recording Format (WRF) files. A remote attacker could exploit this by providing a user with a malicious ARF or WRF file via email or URL and convincing the user to launch the file. Exploitation of this could cause an affected player to crash and, in some cases, could allow arbitrary code execution on the system of a targeted user.”


The Open Web Application Security Project is the standard for web application security. They publish a number of important documents. For our current purposes, the most important is their top 10 list, located at Every few years they publish a top 10 web application vulnerabilities list. This list contains the actual vulnerabilities most frequently found in web applications.

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