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Introducing Bits: a glimpse into Intruder’s design evolution

Nika Vizintin Prinz

The concept of a ‘design system’ might be new to you, but it’s pivotal to today's digital platforms by ensuring consistent and engaging user experiences. At Intruder, we adopted our own design system earlier this year and embarked on a transformative journey. Let's dive into the reasons why, the challenges we encountered on the way, and how it’ll enhance the experience for our team and customers alike.

Understanding the design system paradigm

What exactly is a design system? Nielsen Norman Group – world leaders in research-based user experience – define it as “a set of standards to manage design at scale by reducing redundancy while creating a shared language and visual consistency across different pages and channels”. The advantages? Here's a breakdown:

Despite these clear benefits, implementing a design system requires careful consideration and comprehensive planning.

Bits: Intruder's tailored solution

Our design system had to resonate with our brand story and identity. Hence Bits, inspired by our retro gaming-themed logo.

Within Bits, every component adheres to a distinct structure, but our primary focus remains on usability, infusing Bits character in elements like our logo and specific interface indicators.

Adopting insights from Brad Frost's Atomic Design, our approach prioritizes modular, versatile design components like Lego blocks, which makes it more flexible and efficient.  

Making the move to Bits

We started the transition to Bits in January 2023 and it’s an ongoing project. Long-time users might see subtle design improvements, while newcomers should be attracted to our fresh and modern interface. The rollout required several considerations:

  1. Address major components first?
  1. Start with subtle elements for a smoother transition?
  1. Undertake a systematic, page-by-page overhaul?

To maximize value, we opted for updates with the most impact, engaging users early to get their feedback. Managing this transition while sticking to our regular development cycle was a challenge, but the feedback we received has been immensely encouraging.

Looking to the future

We've made huge progress (see the before and after screenshots below) but our journey is far from over. Interfaces are still being updated, new design elements are in the pipeline, and continuous improvement is our mantra. Our goal is to finalize the majority of updates by the beginning of 2024. This foundational shift, anchored by Bits, is poised to expedite our feature rollout, aligning with our commitment to user-centric innovation.

Synergy in action

Throughout my time in product design, I've witnessed a number of different outcomes when teams try to implement a design system. What I’ve discovered is that success hinges on meticulous planning, company-wide buy-in, and an unwavering commitment to creating real customer value.

Intruder's journey illustrates the collaborative spirit of our team, from visionary leadership to talented designers and dedicated developers. Taking this big step with our Bits design system reaffirms our commitment to excellence in everything we do. Why not see it in action?

Release Date
Level of Ideal
Before CVE details are published
Limited public information is available about the vulnerability.

Red teamers, security researchers, detection engineers, threat actors have to actively research type of vulnerability, location in vulnerable software and build an associated exploit.

Tenable release checks for 47.43% of the CVEs they cover in this window, and Greenbone release 32.96%.
Day of CVE publish
Vulnerability information is publicly accessible.

Red teamers, security researchers, detection engineers and threat actors now have access to some of the information they were previously having to hunt themselves, speeding up potential exploit creation.

Tenable release checks for 17.12% of the CVEs they cover in this window, and Greenbone release 17.69%.
First week since CVE publish
Vulnerability information has been publicly available for up to 1 week.

The likelihood that exploitation in the wild is going to be happening is steadily increasing.

Tenable release checks for 10.9% of the CVEs they cover in this window, and Greenbone release 20.69%.
Between 1 week and 1 month since CVE publish
Vulnerability information has been publicly available for up to 1 month, and some very clever people have had time to craft an exploit.

We’re starting to lose some of the benefit of rapid, automated vulnerability detection.

Tenable release checks for 9.58% of the CVEs they cover in this window, and Greenbone release 12.43%.
After 1 month since CVE publish
Information has been publicly available for more than 31 days.

Any detection released a month after the details are publicly available is decreasing in value for me.

Tenable release checks for 14.97% of the CVEs they cover over a month after the CVE details have been published, and Greenbone release 16.23%.

With this information in mind, I wanted to check what is the delay for both Tenable and Greenbone to release a detection for their scanners. The following section will focus on vulnerabilities which:

These are the ones where an attacker can point their exploit code at your vulnerable system and gain unauthorised access.

We’ve seen previously that Tenable have remote checks for 643 critical vulnerabilities, and OpenVAS have remote checks for 450 critical vulnerabilities. Tenable release remote checks for critical vulnerabilities within 1 month of the details being made public 58.4% of the time, but Greenbone release their checks within 1 month 76.8% of the time. So, even though OpenVAS has fewer checks for those critical vulnerabilities, you are more likely to get them within 1 month of the details being made public. Let’s break that down further.

In Figure 10 we can see the absolute number of remote checks released on a given day after a CVE for a critical vulnerability has been published. What you can immediately see is that both Tenable and OpenVAS release the majority of their checks on or before the CVE details are made public; Tenable have released checks for 247 CVEs, and OpenVAS have released checks for 144 CVEs. Then since 2010 Tenable have remote released checks for 147 critical CVEs and OpenVAS 79 critical CVEs on the same day as the vulnerability details were published. The number of vulnerabilities then drops off across the first week and drops further after 1 week, as we would hope for in an efficient time-to-release scenario.

Figure 10: Absolute numbers of critical CVEs with a remote check release date from the date a CVE is published

While raw numbers are good, Tenable have a larger number of checks available so it could be unfair to go on raw numbers alone. It’s potentially more important to understand the likelihood that OpenVAS or Tenable will release a check of a vulnerability on any given day after a CVE for a critical vulnerability is released. In Figure 11 we can see that Tenable release 61% their checks on or before the date that a CVE is published, and OpenVAS release a shade under 50% of their checks on or before the day that a CVE is published.

Figure 11: Percentage chance of delay for critical vulnerabilities

So, since 2010 Tenable has more frequently released their checks before or on the same day as the CVE details have been published for critical vulnerabilities. While Tenable is leading at this point, Greenbone’s community feed still gets a considerable percentage of their checks out on or before day 0.

I thought I’d go another step further and try and see if I could identify any trend in each organisations release delay, are they getting better year-on-year or are their releases getting later? In Figure 12 I’ve taken the mean delay for critical vulnerabilities per year and plotted them. The mean as a metric is particularly influenced by outliers in a data set, so I expected some wackiness and limited the mean to only checks released 180 days prior to a CVE being published and 31 days after a CVE being published. These seem to me like reasonable limits, as anything greater than 6 months prior to CVE details being released is potentially a quirk of the check details and anything after a 1-month delay is less important for us.

What can we take away from Figure 12?

Figure 12: Release delay year-on-year (lower is better)

With the larger number of checks, and still being able to release a greater percentage of their remote checks for critical vulnerabilities Tenable could win this category. However, the delay time from 2019 and 2020 going to OpenVAS, and the trend lines being so close, I am going to declare this one a tie. It’s a tie.

The takeaway from this is that both vendors are getting their checks out the majority of the time either before the CVE details are published or on the day the details are published. This is overwhelmingly positive for both scanning solutions. Over time both also appear to be releasing remote checks for critical vulnerabilities more quickly.

Written by

Nika Vizintin Prinz

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