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A process is "a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end" [1]. Publishing a document is an action. Releasing a fix is an action. And while both of these are common events within the CVD process, they do not define it. Perhaps the simplest description of the CVD process is that it starts with at least one individual becoming aware of a vulnerability in a product. This discovery event immediately divides the world into two sets of people: those who know about the vulnerability, and those who don't. From that point on, those belonging to the set that knows about the vulnerability iterate on two questions:

  1. The CVD process continues until the answers to these questions are "nothing," and "nobody." What actions should I take in response to this knowledge?
  2. Who else needs to know what, and when?

Simple enough? Hardly. If it were, this document would be considerably shorter. But with this simple iterator in mind, we'll be better able to frame our discussion.

Ideally, product and service vulnerabilities would be either discovered by the vendor (developer) of the software product or service itself or reported to the vendor by a third party (finder, reporter). Informing vendors enables them to take action to address and correct vulnerabilities. In most cases, the vendor is the party best suited to correct the vulnerability at its origin. Vendors typically remediate vulnerabilities by developing and releasing an update to the product, also known as a patch. However, often the vendor issuing an update is just the first step towards remediation of the installed base of vulnerable systems. Deployers must still ensure that patches are deployed in a timely manner to the systems they need to protect. A more detailed discussion of roles in CVD can be found in Section 3.


  1. Oxford Living Dictionaries (English), "process," [Online]. Available:
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