Making open source safer

Making open source safer

In a significant industry milestone, Sonatype and HackerOne have teamed up to make the open source community safer for all who use it.

Currently, it takes a tedious 13 steps to reserve a typical CVE ID – CVE being a dictionary of publicly disclosed cybersecurity vulnerabilities and exposures.

With developers acutely aware that security is a priority, and 48% of them not having the correct amount of time to spend on it, something needed to change.

Sonatype and HackerOne have answered the call for help by teaming up to create the Central Security Project (CSP), lowering those 13 steps to one. 

The first-of-its-kind program brings together the ethical hacker and open source communities to streamline the process for reporting and resolving vulnerabilities discovered in libraries housed in The Central Repository, the world’s largest collection of open source components. 

CSP is designed to be a centralised vulnerability reporting platform within the Java ecosystem. It will enable the community to report a vulnerability, receive quick feedback, and see all other disclosed vulnerabilities for the ecosystem, in a single platform fuelled by HackerOne.

Community members will also be able to track reported issues by status, keep score around quantity and severity of exploits identified, and get credit for their work.

Going forward, vulnerabilities reported through the CSP will be rapidly examined by a world class team of researchers so that fixes can be quickly made available to project owners, and then responsibly disclosed to the public at large.

“When individual developers or ethical hackers try and report a new vulnerability to an open source project they often wait for months to get a response, with no guarantee they’ll ever actually receive one,” said Brian Fox, co-founder and CTO of Sonatype.

“As the stewards of the Central Repository, we saw a unique opportunity to partner with HackerOne to simplify the vulnerability reporting process for all involved, and help make open source safer for the world.”

Without a standard for responsible disclosure, even those who want to disclose vulnerabilities responsibly can get frustrated with the process and turn to public lists or social media, where bad actors can easily find the details before fixes are created.

Similarly, open source projects often don’t have the resources to validate that all vulnerabilities reported are real issues.

“Innovation happens faster when developers are able to share information, build on top of each other’s discoveries and learn from each other. The same is true within the security community,” said Marten Mickos, CEO of HackerOne.

“The CSP brings together Sonatype’s comprehensive repository of open source components with the world’s largest community of ethical hackers. By working together, the entire open source community benefits and software becomes safer for everyone.”

"We have a critical need to centralise security reporting in the open source industry especially given the proliferation of ecosystems like Github which encourage decentralisation,” said David Blevins, founder and CEO of Tomitribe.

"The Central Security Project is a significant industry milestone that creates an open source reporting ecosystem that can function at Github scale."

How the Central Security Project works:

  1. Sonatype has added ‘Report a vulnerability’ links to every project page within the Central Repository and OSS Index.
  2. The links will connect individual developers and ethical hackers to the HackerOne platform where they can easily report potential exploits.
  3. When vulnerabilities are reported, Sonatype’s security research team will rapidly assess the report and, where appropriate, develop a fix.
  4. HackerOne will communicate with relevant project owners and facilitate CVE assignment.
  5. Once the fix has been released, the vulnerability will be publicly disclosed through HackerOne’s Hacktivity page, and the person who reported it will be credited for its’ discovery and submission.

 

The program will initially focus on the Java ecosystem within the Central Repository, with the goal of expanding to other ecosystems over time.