In an effort to further secure open source software, GitHub has announced that the GitHub Advisory Database is now open to community contributions.
While the company has its own teams of security researchers that carefully review all changes and help keep security advisories up to date, community members often have additional insights and intelligence on CVEs but lack a place to share this knowledge.
This is why GitHub is publishing the full contents of its Advisory Database to a new public repository to make it easier for the community to leverage this data. At the same time, the company has built a new user interface for security researchers, academics and enthusiasts to make contributions.
All of the data in the GitHub Advisory Database is licensed under a Creative Commons license and has been since the database was first created to ensure that it remains free and usable by the community.
Contributing to a security advisory
In order to provide a community contribution to a security advisory, GitHub users first need to navigate to the advisory they wish to contribute to and submit their research through the “suggest improvements for this vulnerability” workflow. Here they can suggest changes or provide more context on packages, affected versions, impacted ecosystems and more.
The form will then walk users through opening a pull request that details their suggested changes. Once this done, security researchers from the GitHub Security Lab as well as the maintainer of the project who filed the CVE will be able to review the request. Contributors will also get public credit on their GitHub profile once their contribution has been merged.
In an attempt to further interoperability, advisories in the GitHub Advisory Database repository use the Open Source Vulnerabilities (OSV) format. Software engineer for Google's Open Source Security Team, Oliver Chang provided further details on the OSV format in a blog post, saying:
“In order for vulnerability management in open source to scale, security advisories need to be broadly accessible and easily contributed to by all. OSV provides that capability.”
We'll likely more on this change to the GitHub Advisory Database once security researchers, academics and enthusiasts begin making their own contributions to the company's database.
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