Friday , July 12 2024
open source software

CISA Plans to Measure Trust in Open-Source Software

The United States cyber defense agency is creating a new framework to answer a critical question in cybersecurity: How can the trustworthiness of open-source security projects be accurately measured and transparently communicated?

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is working on the second phase of its open-source software security road map. The goal is to improve the understanding of the use and risks of open-source software in the federal government.

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Aeva Black, CISA’s section chief for open-source software security, says that we can evaluate the trustworthiness of certain OSS components by using metadata from code hosting services and package repositories. Black said in the blog post that the agency’s latest OSS efforts consist of two parts: “Creating a framework for measuring trust and scaling out its usage.”

CISA and the Open Source Security Foundation partnered to enhance the security of open-source software ecosystems. In March, they launched an initiative to establish principles and best practices for securing online repositories that store software packages. Jen Easterly, the Director of CISA, highlighted the significance of open-source software for critical infrastructure in the US.

The new framework builds on the current approach and focuses on four dimensions: project, product, protection activities, and policies. It aims to make it easier to identify vulnerabilities, outdated dependencies, or unexpected ownership changes in open-source projects. It will also address specific security measures for federal open-source projects, including code reviews, vulnerability disclosures, and multifactor authentication.

CISA will fund a tool called Hipcheck to automate the evaluation of OSS trustworthiness. The tool will combine measurement results into a useful output to make the process implementable and scalable.

CISA did not respond to a request for comment about how open-source security is being implemented at the federal level.

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