Sonatype – Keeping Open Source Secure

Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle is a part of the Sonatype Nexus platform, a suite of tools designed to help automate open-source governance and minimize risk. The Lifecycle tool helps manage and secure open-source components in a software project.

When you use open-source software (OSS) components in your application, these components may have vulnerabilities that can expose your application to risk. These vulnerabilities are well-known and documented in various databases, like the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) and Sonatype’s database.

When you build your application, Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle collects information about every OSS component that is included in your application. These components could be libraries, frameworks, or other software modules your application uses. This collection of OSS components forms what is known as a software bill of materials (SBOM).

For example, let’s say you’re building a Java application that uses the following open-source libraries:

  • Apache Commons IO
  • Spring Boot
  • Hibernate ORM

When you build your application, Nexus Lifecycle will detect these libraries and form an SBOM that might look something like this:

  • Apache Commons IO, version 2.6
  • Spring Boot, version 2.3.1
  • Hibernate ORM, version 5.4.15

After the SBOM is created, Sonatype Nexus Lifecycle cross-references it against its vulnerability database and other databases like the NVD. These databases contain known security vulnerabilities and the OSS components they affect.

For instance, let’s imagine there is a known vulnerability in Apache Commons IO version 2.6. The vulnerability database entry might look like this:

  • Vulnerability ID: CVE-2021-3301
  • Component: Apache Commons IO, version 2.6
  • Description: This version of Apache Commons IO exposes an arbitrary file overwrite vulnerability, allowing an attacker to overwrite any file accessible to the application.
  • Severity: Critical

When Nexus Lifecycle checks your SBOM against the database, it will find this vulnerability and create a security violation for your application, warning you about the critical vulnerability in Apache Commons IO version 2.6. You would then be advised to update the library to a version without the vulnerability or apply another form of remediation.

This process helps developers and organizations identify and address security vulnerabilities in their software systematically and proactively, enhancing overall software security and reducing risk.