Federal Agencies Publish Top Most Exploited IT Vulnerabilities of 2022

Federal Agencies Publish Top Most Exploited IT Vulnerabilities of 2022


In a joint effort to enhance cybersecurity awareness and preparedness, the cybersecurity authorities of the Five Eyes (FVEY) intelligence alliance, including the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the FBI, and the NSA, have released a list of the top 12 most exploited vulnerabilities throughout 2022. This publication sheds light on cybercriminals' preference for targeting older unpatched security flaws to carry out their malicious activities.

The comprehensive advisory on exploited vulnerabilities highlights several important insights:

  1. Focus on Older Software Flaws: The report reveals that malicious cyber actors in 2022 exploited older software vulnerabilities more frequently than recently disclosed ones. The emphasis on older vulnerabilities underscores the importance of consistent and timely patching to prevent cyberattacks.
  2. Prevalence of Long-Exploited Vulnerabilities: Notably, only five out of the 12 routinely exploited security vulnerabilities listed were discovered in 2022, with one vulnerability dating back to 2018. This indicates that cybercriminals continue to capitalize on known vulnerabilities due to lax patch management practices.
  3. Dominance of Certain Companies: The list of exploited vulnerabilities is dominated by vulnerabilities associated with companies like Microsoft, VMWare, and Atlassian. These vulnerabilities have been repeatedly targeted by cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to systems.
  4. Timely Patch Management: Rosa Smothers, a former CIA cyber threat analyst and current executive at KnowBe4, highlights the significance of timely patch management. She emphasizes that organizations that remain vulnerable are apathetic to the evolving threat landscape.

Implications for Cyber and IT Security Teams

The report underscores the need for robust cybersecurity practices and proactive patch management to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks. Cyber and IT security teams should consider the following implications:

  1. Prioritize Patching: Cyber and IT security teams must prioritize patching and ensure that security updates are promptly applied to software systems. Regularly reviewing and addressing software vulnerabilities can significantly reduce the attack surface.
  2. Collaborative Efforts: Collaboration between cybersecurity teams, software vendors, and developers is crucial to address vulnerabilities effectively. Software vendors and developers should adopt secure design practices and implement default configurations that prioritize security.
  3. Cyber Hygiene: Organizations should improve their cyber hygiene by implementing cybersecurity best practices, conducting regular security assessments, and providing ongoing training to employees. A well-trained workforce can play a pivotal role in identifying and mitigating potential threats.
  4. Long-Term Security Strategy: Organizations should adopt a long-term security strategy that focuses on proactive threat mitigation. This includes monitoring emerging threats, staying informed about the latest vulnerabilities, and continuously enhancing cybersecurity measures.

The release of the top most exploited vulnerabilities of 2022 by cybersecurity authorities serves as a wake-up call for organizations to enhance their cybersecurity posture and take proactive measures to defend against evolving cyber threats. By addressing vulnerabilities promptly and adopting a comprehensive security approach, organizations can significantly reduce their risk exposure and contribute to a more secure digital environment.