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Why new navigation has improved our user experience

Nika Vizintin Prinz

We think Intruder is already one of the easiest - and most effective - vulnerability scanners to use on the market, but we're always looking at ways to improve and enhance the user experience.

Part of this continuous improvement is a big new update to the navigation in our portal. The side navigation, tabs and page structure have been reviewed, tested and optimised to make the customer experience even more intuitive and easy to navigate so you can find the information you need faster.

What prompted these improvements?

The answer is simple: we listened to you - our customers. That's why we're sure you'll love the changes too.

We identified three main areas for improvement:

  1. Users were often focused on the wrong things when assigned a task: instead of finding what they needed quickly, users had to search for different parts of the user interface. We realised that we weren't providing enough information or that information wasn't visible in the right places.
  2. The navigation didn't react in the way users expected it to: customers come from a range of tools, and they expect to have the same experience everywhere. We wanted to match that experience.
  3. Our navigation could be even simpler so users could get started quicker: the side navigation looked different on different pages, which made the tool seem more complex and challenging to use.

What changes have me made?

1. We've refocused our users' attention on the most important things: our new navigation system saves time by helping you find what you're looking for more quickly. We've also moved specific buttons and actions to more contextually relevant locations, making the platform more intuitive to use.

Dashboard showing the old navigation and side bar
New navigation

2. The navigation now works the way you expect it to: we have adopted patterns that we know you're familiar with from other apps. By aligning our design with these patterns, vulnerability management becomes much more effortless.

Old Issues tab
New, improved layout

3. We've eliminated unnecessary complexity: our side navigation now looks the same on every page, and we have grouped related content together to make it easier to find. Page titles, breadcrumbs, page descriptions, and buttons are all located in the exact same spot on every page.

Old Scan results tab
New, improved results
Old targets tab
New targets tab. Notice how the side bar is now the same across all pages

We're sure you'll love these changes as much as we do because it makes Intruder even more accessible and easy to use. We're always updating and upgrading our design to give you the very best user experience, so stay tuned for more design improvements to come. Until then, happy navigating!

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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