What is a security advisory?
A security advisory is a notice released by software companies to tell customers there is a security issue in their product and provides instructions on how to fix it. To this end, security advisories play an integral role in security upkeep as they not only make people aware there is an issue but also how to fix it
How do security advisories work?
Whenever a company finds, or is made aware, of a security vulnerability in their software, for example a SQL injection, a patch is developed to be released to customers. In some cases, developing the patch can take longer than usual, in which case the company might provide customers with a workaround until the patch is released.
The company must inform its customers of the issue and the fix – whether this is a temporary fix or permanent. The way it does this is through a security advisory.
While there is no agreed-upon standard as to what a security advisory may or may not contain, it will typically include:
- Vulnerability details
- Proof of concept
- Risk assessment
- Risk Mitigation
- Fix information
Depending on the vulnerability discovered, a security advisory may contain details about one or many vulnerabilities.
The benefits of security advisories
Security advisories are very beneficial as they allow customers to be notified of any potential issues present on their system. It also details steps administrators can take to mitigate or eliminate the risk – ensuring systems remain as secure as possible. Hence why it is of utmost importance to follow the blogs, newsletters or other public channels of all the developers of the software that you use.
On the flip-side, security advisories also make potential attackers aware of the vulnerability who may take advantage of the information to attack systems before administrators have had time to apply the recommended fixes or update their software.
While administrators and website owners would do well to test any fixes in a testing environment before rolling them out to live systems, doing so efficiently is of paramount importance. To this end, a comprehensive WordPress security plan is also important as it provides multiple lines of defense against possible attacks.