The kerfuffle over naming of vulnerabilities like Badlock and ShellShock misses the mark on why this is a good thing for the industry. Given the sheer volume and scale of the application security problem companies face today, anything that draws attention to the seriousness of the state we’re in is a good thing. I’d argue that the moniker ‘Heartbleed’ created so much buzz that it forced companies to evaluate their own exposure because Boards and senior management had heard of it and were asking. Would the same be true if it were simply known as CVE-2014-0160? Of course, we don’t want to take this so far that the power of the naming gets oversaturated, like your favorite song on heavy radio rotation.
It is almost impossible to comprehend why application security isn’t getting more attention. In 2014 alone, there were eight major breaches through the application layer, resulting in more than 450 million personal or financial records stolen. And we aren’t talking about small breaches at companies no one has heard of. Target, JPMorgan Chase, Community Health and TalkTalk are four examples of companies that have suffered breaches due to vulnerabilities in software.
With such high-profile breaches, you would think more people would be paying attention. And if naming serious vulnerabilities in a memorable way helps achieve this then that’s a benefit for the whole industry.