Vulnerablecode – A Free And Open Vulnerabilities Database And The Packages They Impact And The Tools To Aggregate And Correlate These Vulnerabilities
VulnerableCode is a free and open database of FOSS software package vulnerabilities and the tools to create and keep the data current.
It is made by the FOSS community to improve and secure the open source software ecosystem.
The existing solutions are commercial proprietary vulnerability databases, which in itself does not make sense because the data is about FOSS (Free and Open Source Software).
The National Vulnerability Database which is a primary centralized data source for known vulnerabilities is not particularly well suited to address FOSS security issues because:
- It predates the explosion of FOSS software usage
- It’s data format reflects a commercial vendor-centric point of view in part due to the usage of CPE to map vulnerabilities to existing packages.
- CPEs are just not designed to map FOSS to vulnerabilities owing to their vendor-product centric semantics. This makes it really hard to answer the fundamental questions “Is package foo vulnerable” and “Is package foo vulnerable to vulnerability bar?”
VulnerableCode independently aggregates many software vulnerability data sources and supports data re-creation in a decentralized fashion. These data sources (see complete list here) include security advisories published by Linux and BSD distributions, application software package managers and package repositories, FOSS projects, GitHub and more. Thanks to this approach, the data is focused on specific ecosystems yet aggregated in a single database that enables querying a richer graph of relations between multiple incarnations of a package. Being specific increases the accuracy and validity of the data as the same version of an upstream package across different ecosystems may or may not be vulnerable to the same vulnerability.
The packages are identified using Package URL PURL as primary identifiers rather than CPEs. This makes answers to questions such as “Is package foo vulnerable to vulnerability bar?” much more accurate and easy to interpret.
The primary access to the data is through a REST API.
In addition, an emerging web interface goal is to support vulnerabilities data browsing and search and progressively to enable community curation of the data with the addition of new packages and vulnerabilities, and reviewing and updating their relationships.
We also plan to mine for vulnerabilities which didn’t receive any exposure due to various reasons like but not limited to the complicated procedure to receive CVE ID or not able to classify a bug as a security compromise.
First clone the source code:
git clone https://github.com/nexB/vulnerablecode.git
An easy way to set up VulnerableCode is with docker containers and docker compose. For this you need to have the following installed.
- Docker Engine. Find instructions to install it here
- Docker Compose. Find instructions to install it here
sudo docker-compose up to start VulnerableCode. Then access VulnerableCode at http://localhost:8000/ or at http://127.0.0.1:8000/
Important: Don’t forget to run
sudo docker-compose up -d --no-deps --build web to sync your instance after every
sudo docker-compose exec web bash to access the VulnerableCode container. From here you can access
manage.py and run management commands to import data as specified below.
- Python 3.8+
- PostgreSQL 9+
- Compiler toolchain and development files for Python and PostgreSQL
On Debian-based distros, these can be installed with:
sudo apt-get install python3-venv python3-dev postgresql libpq-dev build-essential
Create a user named
vulnerablecodeas password when prompted:
sudo -u postgres createuser --no-createrole --no-superuser --login
--inherit --createdb --pwprompt vulnerablecode``
Create a databased named
createdb --encoding=utf-8 --owner=vulnerablecode --user=vulnerablecode
--password --host=localhost --port=5432 vulnerablecode
Create a virtualenv, install dependencies, generate static files and run the database migrations:
python3 -m venv venv
pip install -r requirements.txt
DJANGO_DEV=1 python manage.py collectstatic
DJANGO_DEV=1 python manage.py migrate
The environment variable
DJANGO_DEV is used to load settings suitable for development, defined in
vulnerablecode/dev.py. If you don’t want to type it every time use
export DJANGO_DEV=1 instead. Do not use DJANGO_DEV in a production environment.
For a production mode, an environment variable named
SECRET_KEY needs to be set. The recommended way to generate this key is to use the code Django includes for this purpose:
SECRET_KEY=$(python -c "from django.core.management import utils; print(utils.get_random_secret_key())")
You will also need to setup the VC_ALLOWED_HOSTS environment variable to match the hostname where the app is deployed:
You can specify several host by separating them with a colon :
You can install VulnerableCode with Nix (Flake support is needed):
nix-shell -p nixFlakes --run "nix --print-build-logs flake check " # build & run tests
There are several options to use the Nix version:
# Enter an interactive environment with all dependencies set up.
> ../../manage.py ... # invoke the local checkout
> vulnerablecode-manage.py ... # invoke manage.py as installed in the nix store
# Test the import prodecure using the Nix version.
etc/nix/test-import-using-nix.sh --all # import everything
# Test the import using the local checkout.
INSTALL_DIR=. etc/nix/test-import-using-nix.sh ruby # import ruby only
Keeping the Nix setup in sync
The Nix installation uses mach-nix to handle Python dependencies because some dependencies are currently not available as Nix packages. All Python dependencies are automatically fetched from
./requirements.txt. If the
mach-nix-based installation fails, you might need to update
mach-nix itself and the pypi-deps-db version in use (see
Non-Python dependencies are curated in:
Use these commands to run code style checks and the test suite:
black -l 100 --check .
DJANGO_DEV=1 python -m pytest
Some data importers use the GitHub APIs. For this, export the
GH_TOKEN environment variable with:
See GitHub docs for instructions on how to obtain your GitHub token.
To run all data importers use:
DJANGO_DEV=1 python manage.py import --all
To list available importers use:
DJANGO_DEV=1 python manage.py import --list
To run specific importers:
DJANGO_DEV=1 python manage.py import rust npm
Start the webserver:
DJANGO_DEV=1 python manage.py runserver
For full documentation about API endpoints use this URL:
Continuous periodic Data import
If you want to run the import periodically, you can use a systemd timer:
$ cat ~/.config/systemd/user/vulnerablecode.service
Description=Update vulnerability database
ExecStart=/path/to/venv/bin/python /path/to/vulnerablecode/manage.py import --all
$ cat ~/.config/systemd/user/vulnerablecode.timer
Description=Periodically update vulnerability database
Start this “timer” with:
systemctl --user daemon-reload
systemctl --user start vulnerablecode.timer