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2/23/2004
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Application Security Standard Edges Forward

The standard, known as Application Vulnerability Description Language, is designed to provide a common way for application vulnerabilities to be defined and classified.

An application security standard known as Application Vulnerability Description Language, which was proposed last year, is moving closer to reality. AVDL, which was submitted to the standards group Oasis, is based on XML and is designed to provide a standard way for application vulnerabilities to be defined and classified so all security applications from different vendors that companies use to secure their apps will understand the same language when it comes to security threats.

For example, when a new software vulnerability surfaces, a company's vulnerability scanner could scan systems to spot the new flaw. The scanner then could send information to firewalls and patch-management systems, which those applications could then use to automatically adjust to better protect against any potential attacks, such as a worm or a hacker attack.

At this week's RSA Security Conference in San Francisco, security vendors will demonstrate how the draft AVDL specifications have been implemented in their applications. Vendors include patch-management and software remediation firm Citadel, Web application gateway vendor NetContinuum, and software vulnerability-assessment vendor SPI Dynamics.

AVDL 1.0 standard is complete and is expected to receive final Oasis approval next month.

Gartner VP and analyst John Pescatore says that because of the number of application vulnerabilities that surface each week--sometimes more than 80 are announced--standards such as AVDL can help companies reduce the threat they face from the moment a vulnerability is discovered to the time it takes them to respond and patch.

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