A Large-Scale Empirical Study of Security Patches
Frank Li and Vern Paxson
Miscreants seeking to exploit computer systems incessantly discover and weaponize new security vulnerabilities. As a result, system administrators and end users must constantly run on the “patch treadmill,” where they apply security patch after security patch to fix newly discovered software vulnerabilities, relying on many of the same processes practiced for decades to update their software against the latest threats. Given the vital role that security patches play in our management of vulnerabilities, it behooves us to better understand the patch development process and characteristics of the resulting fixes.