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Microsoft Security Bulletin Severity Rating System

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Definition: The Microsoft Security Bulletin Severity Rating System is a simple, four level severity rating system that's applied to each Microsoft Security Bulletin, providing a quick and easy way to assess the possible risk of the security weakness that was identified.

Below are the four possible severity ratings with explanations as defined by Microsoft:

  • Critical: A vulnerability whose exploitation could allow the propagation of an Internet worm without user action.

  • Important: A vulnerability whose exploitation could result in compromise of the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of users data, or of the integrity or availability of processing resources.

  • Moderate: Exploitability is mitigated to a significant degree by factors such as default configuration, auditing, or difficulty of exploitation.

  • Low: A vulnerability whose exploitation is extremely difficult, or whose impact is minimal.
You can read more about Microsoft's rating system at their Microsoft Security Response Center Security Bulletin Severity Rating System page.
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