The unmasking of the Phantom's Masquerade: When junk CVEs reveal their true nature

John Speed Meyers, Principal Research Scientist
October 17, 2023

Disclaimer: The CVEs in these stories are real, but the names of people involved are fictional for privacy and storytelling purposes.

Here, we’ll hear about “junk CVEs.” These are true positive “vulnerabilities” reported by a scanner, but are really normal bugs in a vulnerability costume. These are reported because unscrupulous vulnerability researchers want to pad their résumés, and maintainers often dispute them.

These vulnerabilities don’t need to waste your time! Chainguard Images are designed for minimalism and are always up-to-date. They can get rid of 96.7% of reported vulnerabilities so that you don’t have to even think about whether they’re legitimate or frivolous.

The Story

On a moonless Halloween night, when enigmas and shadows converged, an unsettling tale of potential deception unfolded within the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) universe. Gather 'round, for this Halloween, we embark on a ghost story of junk CVEs—its a chilling specter that dons the guise of critical threats, like masked revelers at a midnight masquerade, only to be unmasked by the relentless altruism of a vigilant coder.

In the heart of this digital twilight zone stood a fearless developer named Emily, a guardian of the open source gateways, protecting her creations from malicious forces. With each keystroke, she wove her spells, crafting her code with the utmost precision. But in this ever-changing world, danger often shrouded itself in deceptive costumes.

One fateful night, as the clock struck the witching hour, Emily's trusty sentinel, the scanner, sounded an alarm that sent a chill down her spine—an entry labeled "CRITICAL." Her heart raced as she envisioned a nightmare of unparalleled proportions. 

But Emily, the unyielding hero of this tale, was no stranger to treacherous disguises. With unwavering determination, she scrutinized the masked apparition before her. Beneath the veneer of a critical vulnerability, she sensed something amiss, a subtle discrepancy that pulled at her instincts.

In the words of the maintainers, the truth was unveiled—a revelation as chilling as the Halloween night itself. These “vulnerabilities” were in fact worthless! The deceptive masqueraders had been exposed, their costumes of terror cast aside. Emily, the relentless hero, had unmasked the phantom menace that had sought to deceive.

So tonight, remember this eerie tale of Emily and the Unmasking of the Phantom's Masquerade. Do not be beguiled by superficial appearances, for beneath the masks of terror often lurk frivolous phantoms. 

With Chainguard Images as your unwavering ally, you too can unmask these deceptive spirits and discern the true threats that haunt your code. 

This Halloween, may your code remain untouched by the illusions of junk CVEs, and may your creations flourish, unburdened by the ghosts of digital masquerades. Happy coding, and beware the sinister disguises that may lurk within your codebase.

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