Google launches OSV-Scanner to help identify vulnerabilities in open source software

Code problem

Google has announced a new tool designed to help identify vulnerabilities in open source software.

The OSV-Scanner is described as a frontend to the existing OSV (open source vulnerabilities) database and one of the aims is to alert developers to security issues in the code their projects depend on.

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As well as making it easier to spot vulnerabilities, OSV-Scanner helps with the process of tracking any available patches and updates. The tool is an acknowledgement that while open source software benefits from being open to scrutiny, it is important to act on any issues that have been detected to prevent knock-on effects in other software that relies on problematic code.

Google says of the newly released tool:

Use OSV-Scanner to find existing vulnerabilities affecting your project's dependencies.

OSV-Scanner provides an officially supported frontend to the OSV database that connects a project's list of dependencies with the vulnerabilities that affect them.

The company adds:

Since the database is open source and distributed, it has several benefits in comparison with closed source advisory databases and scanners:

  • Each advisory comes from an open and authoritative source (e.g. the RustSec Advisory Database)
  • Anyone can suggest improvements to advisories, resulting in a very high quality database
  • The OSV format unambiguously stores information about affected versions in a machine-readable format that precisely maps onto a developer’s list of packages

More information is available over on GitHub.

Image credit: lightsource / depositphotos

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