CISA publishes roadmap to enhance open-source software security

US CISA has unveiled a comprehensive roadmap aimed at bolstering the security of open source software within the Federal government.

 Text, Texture

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) unveiled its fresh Open Source Software Security Roadmap, outlining the agency’s strategy to fortify security within the Federal government’s open-source software ecosystem.

Open-source software, characterised by its accessibility, adaptability, collaborative potential, and innovation-enabling qualities, has proven invaluable to software developers. However, the recent Log4j vulnerability highlighted the potential pitfalls of widespread open-source code usage.

Recognising open-source software as a public good, CISA has committed to safeguarding this ecosystem. The roadmap defines four primary objectives:

  1. Establishing CISA’s Role: Clearly defining CISA’s role in supporting open source software security.
  2. Enhancing Visibility: Increasing visibility into open source software usage and associated risks.
  3. Risk Reduction: Mitigating risks to the Federal government stemming from open-source software.
  4. Strengthening the Ecosystem: Reinforcing the overall resilience of the open source software ecosystem.

In alignment with the Biden administration’s National Cybersecurity Strategy, the roadmap outlines supporting objectives slated for implementation between fiscal years 2024 and 2026. These objectives include forming partnerships with open-source software communities, expanding international collaborations, and developing a framework for prioritising open-source software risks.

Furthermore, CISA plans to conduct risk-informed assessments of open-source projects across the Federal government and critical infrastructure. The agency will also provide guidance on establishing open source program offices (OSPOs) for Federal agencies and other interested entities.

Lastly, the roadmap emphasises CISA’s commitment to advancing software bills of materials (SBOMs) within open-source software supply chains and disseminating best practices for open-source software security usage.

At the same time, US government officials and private sector executives are assembling in Washington this week for an initiative to craft a comprehensive, long-term strategy addressing the security challenges surrounding publicly accessible open-source code. The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) is orchestrating a two-day summit in Washington, DC, commencing on Tuesday, focusing on the persistent security vulnerabilities within the open-source community. The participants include government representatives from the White House, the Defense Department, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the National Science Foundation, and other key agencies, collaborating with major corporations such as Amazon, Apple, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and GitHub, in a concerted effort to address these critical security concerns.