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Introducing the Allstar GitHub App

By Blog

Authors: Mike Maraya, Jeff Mendoza

We’re excited to announce Allstar, a GitHub app that provides automated continuous enforcement of security best practices for GitHub projects. With Allstar, owners can check for security policy adherence, set desired enforcement actions, and continuously enact those enforcements when triggered by a setting or file change in the organization or project repository. Allstar will help the open source community proactively reduce security risk while adding as little friction as possible.

Allstar is a companion to Security Scorecards, an automated tool that assesses risk to a repository and its dependencies. Security Scorecards checks a number of important heuristics (currently 18), such as whether the project uses branch protection, cryptographically signs release artifacts, or requires code review. From these scores, users can understand specific areas to improve in order to strengthen the security posture of their project. From here, Allstar takes the next step and allows maintainers to opt into automated enforcement of specific checks. If your repository fails a particular check that you enable, Allstar intervenes to make the necessary changes to remediate the issue, avoiding the extra effort of regular manual fixes. In short, Security Scorecards helps you measure your current security posture against where you want to be; Allstar helps you get there.

Continuous Automated Enforcement

Allstar works by continuously checking expected GitHub API states and repository file contents (repository settings, branch settings, workflow settings) against defined security policies and applying enforcement actions (filing issues, changing the settings) when expected states do not match the policies. The continuous nature of the enforcement protects against stealthy attacks that human enforcement might not notice: Allstar will detect and respond to a policy violation if someone, for example, temporarily disables branch protections in order to commit a malicious change before reenabling the protections. 

OpenSSF runs an Allstar instance that anyone can install and use. However, you can create and run your own Allstar instance for security or customization reasons.

User-Defined Enforcement Actions

Allstar lets you pick the enforcement actions that make sense for the organization, the repository, and the specific policies you’ve enabled. The following enforcement actions are available today, with more planned for the future:

  • Log the security policy adherence failure with no additional action
  • Open a GitHub issue
  • Revert the modified GitHub policy setting to match the original Allstar configuration

Security Policy Enforcements Available Today

A limited number of security policy checks are currently enforced by Allstar, with additional policies planned in the coming months. Here’s what’s up and running so far:

Branch Protection

Branch protection sets requirements before a collaborator can push changes to a branch in your repository. Allstar can enforce the following requirements:

  • Require approval on pull requests, which helps meet the code review requirement for Supply-chain Levels for Software Artifacts (SLSA)
  • Set a number of required pull request approvals
  • Dismiss stale pull request approvals
  • Block force pushes

Security Policy

A defined policy for responsible vulnerability disclosure helps protect the users of your project, ensuring that you have a chance to remediate an issue before public disclosure. Allstar can enforce the presence of a security policy file (SECURITY.md).

Outside Collaborator Administrators

Allstar can enforce a requirement that users with administrator privileges on a repository be members of the owning organization. It can also disallow push access for outside collaborators. 

Binary Artifacts

Binary artifacts in a repository are threat vectors that cannot be accurately reviewed by a human. Allstar will detect these and alert the user if found.

What’s Next

Here are some of the enforcements we’re looking to build in future releases:

Automatic Dependency Update

Security vulnerabilities are regularly discovered and fixed in open source packages. Automatically updating your dependencies helps keep known vulnerabilities out of your project. Allstar will be able to ensure that automatic dependency updates via Dependabot or Renovate are enabled on your repository.

Frozen Dependencies

Automatic incorporation of new dependency versions without review is an attack vector. A lock file or similar language-specific pinning file can protect against a compromised dependency release making its way into your project. Allstar will be able to detect and enforce the presence of language-specific dependency pinning.

Get Involved

Allstar is still in the early stages of development, so we welcome adoption and community feedback. You can get started using Allstar and help improve it by submitting issues and/or pull requests for new additions. We look forward to rolling out more enforcements; in the meanwhile, taking simple steps like enforcing code review and setting branch protections can make a significant difference in protecting against supply-chain attacks. Taking these fundamental actions together can help raise the bar for security standards in open source software.

Technology and Enterprise Leaders Combine Efforts to Improve Open Source Security

By Press Release

New collaboration called Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) consolidates industry efforts to improve the security of open source software

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Aug 3, 2020 – The Linux Foundation, today announced the formation of the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF). The OpenSSF is a cross-industry collaboration that brings together leaders to improve the security of open source software (OSS) by building a broader community with targeted initiatives and best practices. It combines efforts from the Core Infrastructure Initiative, GitHub’s Open Source Security Coalition and other open source security work from founding governing board members GitHub, Google, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, NCC Group, OWASP Foundation and Red Hat, among others. Additional founding members include ElevenPaths, GitLab, HackerOne, Intel, Okta, Purdue, SAFECode, StackHawk, Trail of Bits, Uber and VMware.

Open source software has become pervasive in data centers, consumer devices and services, representing its value among technologists and businesses alike. Because of its development process, open source that ultimately reaches end users has a chain of contributors and dependencies. It is important that those responsible for their user or organization’s security are able to understand and verify the security of this dependency chain.

The OpenSSF brings together the industry’s most important open source security initiatives and the individuals and companies that support them. The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), founded in response to the 2014 Heartbleed bug, and the Open Source Security Coalition, founded by the GitHub Security Lab, are just a couple of the projects that will be brought together under the new OpenSSF. The Foundation’s governance, technical community and its decisions will be transparent, and any specifications and projects developed will be vendor agnostic. The OpenSSF is committed to collaboration and working both upstream and with existing communities to advance open source security for all.

“We believe open source is a public good and across every industry we have a responsibility to come together to improve and support the security of open source software we all depend on,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “Ensuring open source security is one of the most important things we can do, and it requires all of us around the world to assist in the effort. The OpenSSF will provide that forum for a truly collaborative, cross-industry effort.”

With the formalization of the group, the open governance structure is established and includes a Governing Board (GB), a Technical Advisory Council (TAC) and a separate oversight for each working group and project. OpenSSF intends to host a variety of open source technical initiatives to support security for the world’s most critical open source software, all of which will be done in the open on GitHub.

For more information and to contribute to the project, please visit https://openssf.org

Resources

Threats, Risks & Mitigations of the Open Source Ecosystem, Open Source Security Coalition
Vulnerabilities in the Core, Harvard’s Lab for Innovation Science and Linux Foundation
Red Hat Product Security Risk Report, Red Hat

Governing Board Member Quotes

GitHub
“Every industry is using open source software, and it is our collective responsibility to help maintain a healthy and secure ecosystem,” said Jamie Cool, Vice President of Product Management, Security at GitHub. “GitHub founded the Open Source Security Coalition in 2019 to bring together industry leaders around this mission and ensure the consumption of open source software is something that all developers can do with confidence. We look forward to this next step in the evolution of the coalition and serving as a founding member of the Open Source Security Foundation.”

Read more in GitHub’s blog.

Google
“Security is always top of mind for Google and our users. We have developed robust internal security tools and systems for consuming open source software internally, for our users, and for our OSS-based products. We believe in building safer products for everyone with far-reaching impacts, and we are excited to work with the broader community through the OpenSSF. We look forward to sharing our innovations and working together to improve the security of open source software we all depend on,” said Director of Product Security, Google Cloud, James Higgins.

IBM
“Open source has become mainstream in the enterprise. As such, the security of the open source supply-chain is of paramount importance to IBM and our clients,” said Christopher Ferris, IBM Fellow and CTO Open Technology. “The launch of the Open Source Security Foundation marks an important step towards giving open source communities the information and tools they need to improve their secure engineering practices, and the information developers need to choose their open source wisely.”

JPMorgan Chase
“Developing, growing and using open source software is a top priority for JPMorgan Chase. We are committed to partner with the community through the Open Source Security Foundation to ensure trust and security in open source software for everyone,” stated Lori Beer, Global Chief Information Officer, JPMorgan Chase.

Microsoft
“As open source is now core to nearly every company’s technology strategy, securing open source software is an essential part of securing the supply chain for every company, including our own,” said Mark Russinovich, Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft Azure. “As with everything open source, building better security is a community-driven process. All of us at Microsoft are excited to be a founding member of the Open Source Security Foundation and we look forward to partnering with the community to create new security solutions that will help us all.”

Read more in Microsoft’s blog.

NCC Group
“The security and privacy of the internet is essential for the protection of individuals, organizations and critical infrastructure, and also the future of democracy and our civil liberties. Given the fundamental role open source plays in powering our world, creating scalable resources and tools to help software maintainers, developers, and users understand and improve their projects’ security is a significant step toward a safer and more secure world. By bringing together a dedicated group of technologists with a shared desire to improve the security of open source software, together we can begin to remediate – or even prevent – security vulnerabilities at a scale not previously possible,” stated Jennifer Fernick, Head of Research at global cyber security expert NCC Group.”

OWASP
“Joining the Linux Foundation and the Open Source Security Foundation is central to our mission to advance the state of application security, especially as OpenSSF is already aligned with OWASP’s core philosophies of openness, transparency and innovation,” said Andrew van der Stock, Executive Director of OWASP, the Open Web Application Security Project. “We look forward to working with all of the participating organizations to improve the state of software security and work together on projects of vital interest to software developers, organizations, and governments around the world.”

Red Hat
“Red Hat is unrelenting in our commitment to open source and in participating to make upstream projects successful. We believe security is an essential part of healthy project communities,” said Chris Wright, CTO of Red Hat. “Now, more than ever, is the time for us to join together with other leaders to help ensure key projects are secure and consumable in our products, across enterprises, and as part of the hybrid cloud. We are excited to help found this Open Source Software Foundation.”

Additional Founding Member Quotes

ElevenPaths
“The security of an enterprise application or services depends mainly on the security of all its components. The vast majority of business applications and services are not fully developed in-house as they make use of open source components that help accelerate the development cycle and extend their functionality. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that all open source components comply with the best practices of secure development and periodic reviews are carried out to positively impact all software that makes use of these components. Joining the Open Source Security Foundation is fully aligned with our vision and principles.”

GitLab
“GitLab is excited to play a part in the creation of the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) to further cross-industry collaboration and move the security of open source projects forward as it is key to the future of technology,” said David DeSanto, director of product for Secure and Defend at GitLab. “Aligning with GitLab’s mission of ‘everyone can contribute,’ we look forward to supporting and contributing to the community to bring together security-conscious developers to change open source development in a collaborative and fundamental way.”

HackerOne
“Open source software powers HackerOne,” said Reed Loden, Head of Open Source Security, HackerOne. “It powers our software, our infrastructure, and our model for engaging with our community. As part of our mission to make the internet safer, we want to make it easier for open source projects to remain secure. For over three years, we’ve given the open source community our platform for free, and we’ve been long-time supporters of initiatives like Internet Bug Bounty. Joining the Linux Foundation and the Open Source Security Foundation allows us to continue on our mission and make the internet safer alongside some of the foremost visionaries in security. We look forward to seeing the change we can make together.”

Intel
“It takes the industry working together to advance technology and accelerate open source security initiatives. Hardware and software are inextricably linked to deliver security, transparency and trust in open source software. Together with the OpenSSF, Intel will continue to play a key role in mobilizing the industry at large and solving security challenges from the cloud to the edge,” said Anand Pashupathy, GM of System Security Software, Intel.

SAFECode
“Open source software is a major component in today’s software supply chain and thus comprises a significant fraction of the software that individuals and organizations rely upon. Supporting the secure development of open source software is of critical importance to SAFECode members and the software community,” said Steve Lipner, executive director of SAFECode. “We are looking forward to bringing our software security experience to bear as we participate in the Open Source Security Foundation’s mission to build a collaborative, cross-industry community to support the security of open source software.”

StackHawk
“The use of open source has undoubtedly reached critical mass, with ever increasing dependency trees and software complexity. Equipping engineering teams to deliver secure applications simply and scalably is core to our mission at StackHawk. We are excited to be one of the founding members of the Open Source Security Foundation to ensure that this can be a reality across software development as a whole and look forward to continued partnership with the community,” said StackHawk’s Founder & CEO, Joni Klippert.

Uber
“Security and Privacy is always top of mind at Uber to ensure we are responsible stewards of our user’s data. We’re always focused on mitigating all types of software vulnerabilities and as such the security of open source software is a top priority. Historically, we’ve worked with other industry leaders to help build a strong security community around open source software and we are excited to expand those efforts with the OpenSSF,” said Rob Fletcher, Sr Manager, Security Engineering.

VMware
“Strengthening the security posture, policies, and processes in the open source community and in widely used open source projects is strengthening the whole software ecosystem – for all players,” said Joshua Lock, security tech lead, Open Source Technology Center, VMware. “VMware strongly supports the goal of making our software ecosystem more resilient and more secure.”

About the Linux Foundation
Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more.  The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.

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