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OpenSSF Town Hall Recording: Now Available!

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The video recording of the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF)  “Public Town Hall” meeting of November 9, 2020 is now available! This meeting shares updates and celebrates accomplishments during the first three months of the OpenSSF. It includes presentations from the OpenSSF Governing Board, Technical Advisory Council, and Working Group leads. Questions and answers occur throughout. It also includes information on how to get involved.

At-a-glance, Town Hall Agenda:

  • Welcome and Overview
  • What’s Happening
    • Governing Board and Planning Committee
    • Technical Advisory Council
    • Working Groups
      • Identifying Security Threats – security metrics for open source projects
      • Security Tooling – state of the art, globally accessible security tools
      • Best Practices – awareness and education of security best practices
      • Vulnerability Disclosures – efficient vulnerability reporting and remediation
      • Digital Identity Attestation – ensuring the provenance of open source code
      • Securing Critical Projects – hands-on help for critical open source projects
  • Discussion + Q&A

Security Scorecards for Open Source Projects

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Author: Kim Lewandowski, Google Product Manager

One of the first things I wanted to do when the OpenSSF launched was help people make better decisions about security when consuming open source projects, and draw more awareness to the health of these critical projects we all depend on. Some might argue that it’s almost too easy to introduce a new dependency into your software systems. I’m definitely guilty of this in my previous life as an engineer. I remember pulling in random Python packages when building my own websites and not putting any thought into security. It should be fine if so many other people are using the same package, right?

With the uptick of open source software attacks, there’s more general awareness now that pulling in open source code you didn’t write into your software supply chains should warrant closer review. At large organizations this can get a bit tricky when trying to scale out automated analysis and trust decisions of any new dependencies, or keeping updated on the hygiene of existing ones. These issues are what inspired the new Scorecards project with the OpenSSF that we are releasing today. 

The goal of Scorecards is to auto-generate a “security score” for open source projects to help users as they decide the trust, risk, and security posture for their use case. This data can also be used to augment any decision making in an automated fashion when new open source dependencies are introduced inside projects or at organizations. For example, organizations may decide that any new dependency with low scores has to go through additional evaluation. These checks could help mitigate malicious dependencies from getting deployed to production systems like we’ve seen recently with malicious NPM packages.

We have defined an initial evaluation criteria that will be used to generate a scorecard for an open source project in a fully automated way. Currently the code only works with software repositories from GitHub, but we will extend it to cover other source code repositories. Some of the evaluation metrics used include a well-defined security policy, code review process and continuous test coverage with fuzzing and static code analysis tools.

Using the scorecard data, we want to build a culture of security through improved visibility. We want to work with the community and improve the security health of the critical projects we all depend on.

It’s early days for this project, though we have made some progress on this problem, we have not solved it and need the community’s help in improving these security evaluation metrics, and adding new ones. There’s a small wishlist of issues already in the repo. Let’s work together on a more secure future for open source software!

Announcing: Secure Software Development EdX course, Sign Up Today!

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The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) has developed a trio of free courses on how to develop secure software. These courses are part of the Secure Software Development Fundamentals Professional Certificate program, all available on the edX platform. This material is intended for all software developers so they can learn to develop secure software. It focuses on practical steps that any software developer can easily take, not theory or actions requiring unlimited resources.

Those interested can sign up starting October 29, 2020. The course material is expected to be released on November 5, 2020. For more information click here.

Almost all software is under attack today, and many organizations and developers are unprepared in their defense. The Secure Software Development Fundamentals courses will enable software developers to create and maintain systems that are much harder to successfully attack, reduce the damage when attacks are successful, and speed the response so that any latent vulnerabilities can be rapidly repaired. The best practices covered in this program apply to all software developers, and include information especially useful to those who use or develop open source software.

Today 48% of technical hiring managers stated hiring professionals with security expertise is a high priority (as reported in the 2020 Open Source Jobs Report), so there is not a better time to engage in this course. Similarly, Security Software Developers earn 35% more than Software Developers in a US nationwide average (according to ZipRecruiter Sep 25, 2020 data).

The courses in this program discusses risks and requirements, design principles, and evaluating code (such as packages) for reuse. It then focuses on key implementation issues: input validation (such as why allowlists and not denylists should be used), processing data securely, calling out to other programs, sending output, cryptography, error handling, and incident response. This is followed by a discussion on various kinds of verification issues, including different kinds of security tools. The program concludes with a discussion on deployment and vulnerability reporting.

Chris Aniszczyk (CTO of Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)) said, “In today’s world where more companies are using more software, becoming software companies themselves and everything is becoming connected, security education is more important than ever. At CNCF, we are excited about this new security professional certificate, and intend to have all of our project leadership pass the courses in the program and recommend you do the same in your communities.”

Software developers can take each of the three courses at no cost. They can enroll at any time, and they will then have limited-time access to the course material on EdX. Developers who wish to prove mastery of the material (or have unlimited access time to the material on EdX) can enroll in the Secure Software Development Fundamentals Professional Certificate program for a fee. The courses included in the program are:

  1. Secure Software Development: Requirements, Design, and Reuse (LFD104x)
  2. Secure Software Development: Implementation (LFD105x)
  3. Secure Software Development: Verification and More Specialized Topics (LFD106x)

Those interested can sign up starting October 29, 2020. The course material is expected to be released on November 5, 2020. For more information click here.

OpenSSF Public Town Hall – November 9 2020, 10am Pacific

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Please join us for the first-ever OpenSSF Town Hall Meeting on November 9, 2020 from 10 AM to 12 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada).

In this meeting, we will share updates and celebrate accomplishments during the first three months of the project. Attendees will hear from the Governing Board, Technical Advisory Council, and Working Group leads, have an opportunity for Q+A, and learn more about how to get involved in the project. Click here to register.

Agenda

  • Welcome and Overview
  • What’s Happening
    • Governing Board and Planning Committee
    • Technical Advisory Council
    • Working Groups
      • Identifying Security Threats – security metrics for open source projects
      • Security Tooling – state of the art, globally accessible security tools
      • Best Practices – awareness and education of security best practices
      • Vulnerability Disclosures – efficient vulnerability reporting and remediation
      • Digital Identity Attestation – ensuring the provenance of open source code
      • Securing Critical Projects – hands-on help for critical open source projects
  • Discussion + Q&A

This is a public meeting and everyone is welcome!  Please register using the link below to receive a  confirmation email with an option to add the meeting to your personal calendar.

http://bit.ly/OpenSSFTownHall

We are actively seeking individuals and companies to join us and get involved in securing the open source ecosystem. The town hall meeting is a great opportunity for those not currently involved to learn more about the work we are doing at OpenSSF and how to become a part of it!

We hope to see you there!

OpenSSF seeks Security Community Individual Representative for Governing Board

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The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) is accepting nominations for the Security Community Individual Representative seat on our Governing Board. The nomination period is open until October 23 2020, after which voting will occur, to conclude on November 5 2020. In this post, we would like to provide some additional information about the role, including its’ activities and our rationale behind creating this position. At the bottom of the post, we share a link where nominations can be submitted, as well as contact information.

What is 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, targeted initiatives, and best practices. Current initiatives are linked to from our GitHub page.

The OpenSSF was established on the premise that security researchers need a mechanism to allow them to collaboratively address methods needed to secure the open source supply chain. It recognizes that security researchers across the globe within organizations have common interests and concerns. OpenSSF facilitates sustained dialogue and project work among private entities, foundations/nonprofits, individual contributors, and academia.

What is involved in serving on the OpenSSF Governing Board?
Governing Board members are responsible for the overall organization and funding of the OpenSSF.  Some activities in which they participate include things like:

  • establishing criteria for membership and dues
  • overseeing business and community outreach
  • adopting and maintaining policies and procedures
  • establishing advisory bodies, committees, programs and councils to support the mission of the OpenSSF
  • approving a budget and fundraising proposals
  • publishing use cases, user stories, websites and priorities to help inform the ecosystem and technical community
  • voting on all decisions or matters coming before the Governing Board

Governing Board (GB) members typically spend 2-3 hours per month preparing for and attending a monthly Governing Board meeting. Many GB members choose to spend additional time in Governing Board related committees which could include strategy, finance, and communications committees.

Like all Governing Board seats, the Security Community Individual Representative seat is unpaid and is held on a volunteer basis, generally as a complement and component of an individual’s primary employment within the industry. As outlined in Section 3 of the OpenSSF Charter, the Security Community Individual Representative will serve a one year term (i.e.: until August 2021), coinciding with the OpenSSF Member Representative elections.

More details about the Governing Board and general organization and operations of OpenSSF are available in the OpenSSF Charter, which should be considered the authoritative document about this role.

Additional OpenSSF governance information can be found on GitHub.

Rationale for Security Community Individual Representative Governing Board seat

When drafting the original Charter for OpenSSF, one thing we were keen on was the prompt introduction of dedicated seats to diversify the perspectives and professional experiences of our Governing Board. Ultimately this included adding and reserving a seat for a representative from a Nonprofit organization or Academia (“Associate Member Representative”), as well as adding and reserving a seat for an individual from the broader technical community who could help bring further perspective (“Security Community Individual Representative”).

Perhaps a bit of a misnomer, the “Security Community Individual Representative” is a dedicated seat for an individual from the open source software maintainer community and/or the security community.

We envisioned that such a seat would be filled by a nominee who showed a longtime dedication to the open source software ecosystem and/or is someone from the security community who has expertise in areas like application security and vulnerability management. We imagined that such a candidate probably would not work at any of the organizations of which the founding members of the OpenSSF GB are members/employees, is likely to have played a fundamental role in the development and maintenance of one or more large or critical open source projects, and/or has worked on securing software at scale through research, engineering, or other security roles, and could help us to ensure that decisions we make and security initiatives we support are a net positive for maintainers, their projects, and the OSS ecosystem. The intention behind the role was to better represent the range of perspectives, backgrounds, needs, and motivations amongst OSS maintainers and security researchers, including individual contributors, and to ensure that a person with this viewpoint would have a dedicated “seat at the table” within OpenSSF governance to help us broaden the range of feedback, ideas, and expertise that would be represented at the Governing Board level.

It should be noted that these are merely some suggested criteria, and anyone who feels they would make a great community rep for an organization focusing on OSS and security is warmly welcomed to apply. By no means are the items listed above a hard requirement for nomination

Submit your nomination
Nominations for the Security Community Individual Representative seat will be open until October 23 2020, and voting will take place until November 5 2020. See nomination instructions below. Once the nomination period closes, voting will be open to members of the openssf-announcements@lists.openssf.org mailing list. Click here to sign up for an OpenSSF mailing list.

Nominations (including self-nomination) can be submitted to the form below (Due October 23rd 2020):
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd61bqfR_siMDvWlCC4s3jKxaVAVbOIIrt9_EwDqZ23VPmMlQ/viewform

Questions and Feedback
To share feedback with the OpenSSF Governing Board, please complete this quick form. Additionally, learn more about how to get involved here.

[Editor’s note: This post was updated October 7 2020 to add clarifying language around desirable qualities for a nominee]