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Improvements to Cisco’s Security Vulnerability Disclosures

Cisco is committed to protecting customers by sharing critical security-related information in different formats. Guided by customer feedback, Cisco’s Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) is seeking ways to improve how we communicate information about Cisco product vulnerabilities to our Customers and Partners.  As John Stewart mentioned on his blog post, the Cisco PSIRT has launched a new and improved security vulnerability disclosure format. The new Cisco Security Advisories can be accessed at and at

The intent is to make it easier for Customers and Partners to access information about all security vulnerabilities in Cisco products. Each vulnerability disclosed through our new security advisories are assigned a Common Vulnerability and Exposures (CVE) identifier to aid in identification. Additionally, Cisco will continue to assess all vulnerabilities using the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS). Check out the sites for CVE, CVSS, and this CVSS scoring calculator if these terms are relatively new to you or you simply need a refresher.

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CVRF: A Penny For Your Thoughts

The Common Vulnerability Reporting Framework (CVRF) is a security automation standard intended to make your life easier by offering a common language to exchange traditional security and vulnerability bulletins, reports, and advisories. You can read more about it on the official ICASI CVRF 1.1 page, in my CVRF 1.1 Missing Manual blog series, or in the cvrfparse instructional blog. CVRF 1.1 has been available to the public for almost a year and we would like to know how its helped and how we can improve it. Please take a moment to take the poll and please feel free to share it with any interested parties. Comments are encouraged and welcomed. The more feedback we get, the more we can improve CVRF.

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Security Automation Live Webcast!

UPDATE: Webcast information is also now available at the Cisco Live 365 site

Many network security administrators are struggling to keep their network “up-to-date” with the constant release of new vulnerabilities and software fixes. At the same time, they’re under pressure to provide near 100% availability of key business services and systems. Every time a vendor discloses a security vulnerability, network security administrators must identify affected devices and (in numerous cases) upgrade such devices. These activities can take hours, days, or even weeks depending on the size of the organization. For instance large enterprises and organizations may have thousands of routers and switches that need to be assessed for the impact of any given vulnerability. Cisco is helping customers by adopting cutting-edge security automation standards such as the  Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language (OVAL) and the Common Vulnerability Reporting Framework (CVRF).

In the following blog posts, I’ve provided details about how security automation is helping customers:

Additionally, my colleague Mike Schiffman has posted several posts explaining CVRF.

Webcast took place on Tuesday, April 23rd at 10:00 a.m. EST (14:00 GMT). Over 150 customers from 29 countries learned about security automation; Cisco’s machine readable content strategy; and vulnerability assessment using OVAL. We discussed how customers can use OVAL to quickly assess the effects of security vulnerabilities in Cisco IOS Software devices. The recording is now available:




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Tools of the Trade: cvrfparse


In this article, you will be provided a thorough treatise on an in-house developed tool for parsing and validating CVRF documents aptly named “cvrfparse”. The article is split into two parts. The first part, intended for CVRF document producers and consumers, is a hands-on manual detailing how to use cvrfparse. The second part, intended for burgeoning Python programmers, explores some of the inner workings of the tool.


The CVRF parser or “cvrfparse” is a Python-based command line tool that offers simple parsing and validation of CVRF documents. Using it, you can quickly query a CVRF document for any of its contents. For example, let’s say one of your vendors releases a bundle of security advisories encoded in CVRF. There are a dozen individual CVRF documents each with multiple vulnerabilities across hundreds of products. Using cvrfparse, you can quickly ascertain which documents contain vulnerable products you might have installed in your infrastructure. We’ll see how, shortly.

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Automating Cisco IOS Vulnerability Assessment

Security automation is a hot topic these days. Most organizations have many systems to patch and configure securely, with numerous versions of software and features enabled. Many security administrators are seeking ways to leverage standards and available tools to reduce the complexity and time necessary to respond to security advisories, assess their devices, and ensure compliance so they can allocate resources to focus on other areas of their network and security infrastructure.

Cisco is committed to protect customers by sharing critical security-related information in different formats.

Starting today, September 26, 2012, Cisco’s Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) is including Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language (OVAL) definitions in Cisco IOS security advisories. Read More »

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