CVE Binary Tool quick start / README

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The CVE Binary Tool is a free, open source tool to help you find known vulnerabilities in software, using data from the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) list of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) as well as known vulnerability data from Redhat, Open Source Vulnerability Database (OSV), Gitlab Advisory Database (GAD), and Curl.

CVE Binary Tool uses the NVD API but is not endorsed or certified by the NVD.

The tool has two main modes of operation:

  1. A binary scanner which helps you determine which packages may have been included as part of a piece of software. There are 355 checkers. Our initial focus was on common, vulnerable open source components such as openssl, libpng, libxml2 and expat.

  2. Tools for scanning known component lists in various formats, including .csv, several linux distribution package lists, language specific package scanners and several Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) formats.

It is intended to be used as part of your continuous integration system to enable regular vulnerability scanning and give you early warning of known issues in your supply chain. It can also be used to auto-detect components and create SBOMs.

What CVE Binary Tool does when it runs:

Diagram of cve-bin-tool's workflow, described in text with more detail below.

  1. Download CVE Data (from NVD, Redhat, OSV, Gitlab, and Curl).

    • This happens once per day by default, not every time a scan is run.

    • On first run, downloading all data can take some time.

  2. Create/read a component list. There are two modes of operation:

    1. Creates a component list (including versions) using a combination of binary checkers and language component lists (such as python’s requirements.txt).

    2. Read SBOM (use an existing component list in a standardized Software Bill of Materials format.)

  3. Create CVE List

    • This looks up all components found or read from an existing bill of materials and reports back any known issues associated with them

  4. Include triage/additional data

    • There are several options for adding triage/notes, information from previous reports to track vulnerability change over time, or known fix data

  5. Generate report in one or more formats (console, json, csv, html, pdf)

For more details, see our documentation or this quickstart guide

Installing CVE Binary Tool

CVE Binary Tool can be installed using pip:

pip install cve-bin-tool

If you want to try the latest code from the cve-bin-tool github or do development, you can also pip install --user -e . to install a local copy from a directory. The Contributor Documentation covers how to set up for local development in more detail.

Pip will install the python requirements for you, but for some types of extraction we use system libraries. If you have difficulties extracting files, you may want to look at our additional Requirements lists for Linux and Windows.

On first usage (and by default, once per day) The tool will download vulnerability data from a set of known vulnerability data sources. Due to reliability issues with NVD, as of release 3.3 we will be using our own NVD mirror at https://cveb.in/ by default rather than contacting NVD directly. If you wish to get data directly from the NVD servers you must provide your own NVD_API_KEY to use their API.

If you are using a release prior to 3.3 that does not use our mirror, please use an NVD_API_KEY as described above.

Output Options

The CVE Binary Tool provides console-based output by default. If you wish to provide another format, you can specify this and a filename on the command line using --format. The valid formats are CSV, JSON, console, HTML and PDF. The output filename can be specified using the --output-file flag.

You can also specify multiple output formats by using comma (‘,’) as separator:

cve-bin-tool file -f csv,json,html -o report

Note: You must not use spaces between the commas (‘,’) and the output formats.

The reported vulnerabilities can additionally be reported in the Vulnerability Exchange (VEX) format by specifying --vex command line option. The generated VEX file can then be used as a --triage-input-file to support a triage process.

If you wish to use PDF support, you will need to install the reportlab library separately.

If you intend to use PDF support when you install cve-bin-tool you can specify it and report lab will be installed as part of the cve-bin-tool install:

pip install cve-bin-tool[PDF]

If you’ve already installed cve-bin-tool you can add reportlab after the fact using pip:

pip install --upgrade reportlab

Note that reportlab was taken out of the default cve-bin-tool install because it has a known CVE associated with it (CVE-2020-28463). The cve-bin-tool code uses the recommended mitigations to limit which resources added to PDFs, as well as additional input validation. This is a bit of a strange CVE because it describes core functionality of PDFs: external items, such as images, can be embedded in them, and thus anyone viewing a PDF could load an external image (similar to how viewing a web page can trigger external loads). There’s no inherent “fix” for that, only mitigations where users of the library must ensure only expected items are added to PDFs at the time of generation.

Since users may not want to have software installed with an open, unfixable CVE associated with it, we’ve opted to make PDF support only available to users who have installed the library themselves. Once the library is installed, the PDF report option will function.

Configuration

You can use --config option to provide configuration file for the tool. You can still override options specified in config file with command line arguments. See our sample config files in the test/config

Auto-detection of components

CVE Binary tool attempts to do auto-detection of components using binary checkers, supported language component lists, and file extraction methods. The supported tools for auto-detection are listed below.

Binary checker list

The following checkers are available for finding components in binary files:

Available checkers

accountsservice

acpid

apache_http_server

apcupsd

apparmor

asn1c

assimp

asterisk

atftp

avahi

axel

bash

bind

binutils

bird

bison

bluez

boinc

botan

bro

bubblewrap

busybox

bwm_ng

bzip2

c_ares

capnproto

ceph

chess

chrony

civetweb

clamav

collectd

commons_compress

connman

coreutils

cpio

cronie

cryptsetup

cups

curl

cvs

darkhttpd

dav1d

davfs2

dbus

debianutils

dhclient

dhcpcd

dhcpd

dmidecode

dnsmasq

domoticz

dosfstools

dovecot

doxygen

dpkg

dropbear

e2fsprogs

ed

elfutils

emacs

enscript

exfatprogs

exim

exiv2

f2fs_tools

faad2

fastd

ffmpeg

file

firefox

flac

fluidsynth

freeradius

freerdp

fribidi

frr

gawk

gcc

gdal

gdb

gdk_pixbuf

gimp

git

glib

glibc

gmp

gnomeshell

gnupg

gnutls

go

gpgme

gpsd

graphicsmagick

grep

grub2

gstreamer

gupnp

gvfs

gzip

haproxy

harfbuzz

haserl

hdf5

heimdal

hostapd

hunspell

hwloc

i2pd

icecast

icu

iperf3

ipmitool

ipsec_tools

iptables

irssi

iucode_tool

iwd

jack2

jacksondatabind

janus

jhead

jq

json_c

kbd

keepalived

kerberos

kexectools

kodi

kubernetes

ldns

lftp

libarchive

libass

libbpg

libcoap

libconfuse

libcurl

libdb

libde265

libebml

libevent

libexpat

libgcrypt

libgd

libgit2

libheif

libical

libidn2

libinput

libjpeg

libjpeg_turbo

libksba

liblas

libmatroska

libmemcached

libmicrohttpd

libmodbus

libnss

libpcap

libraw

librsvg

librsync

libsamplerate

libseccomp

libsndfile

libsolv

libsoup

libsrtp

libssh

libssh2

libtasn1

libtiff

libtomcrypt

libupnp

libuv

libvips

libvirt

libvncserver

libvorbis

libvpx

libxslt

lighttpd

linux_kernel

lldpd

logrotate

lrzip

lua

luajit

lxc

lynx

lz4

mailx

mariadb

mbedtls

mdadm

memcached

micropython

minetest

mini_httpd

minicom

minidlna

miniupnpc

miniupnpd

modsecurity

monit

mosquitto

motion

mpg123

mpv

msmtp

mtr

mupdf

mutt

mysql

nano

nasm

nbd

ncurses

neon

nessus

netatalk

netdata

netkit_ftp

netpbm

nettle

nghttp2

nginx

ngircd

nmap

node

ntfs_3g

ntp

ntpsec

open_iscsi

open_vm_tools

openafs

opencv

openjpeg

openldap

opensc

openssh

openssl

openswan

openvpn

p7zip

pango

patch

pcre

pcre2

pcsc_lite

perl

php

picocom

pigz

pixman

png

polarssl_fedora

poppler

postgresql

ppp

privoxy

procps_ng

proftpd

protobuf_c

pspp

pure_ftpd

putty

python

qemu

qpdf

qt

quagga

radare2

radvd

raptor

rauc

rdesktop

readline

rpm

rsync

rsyslog

rtl_433

rtmpdump

runc

rust

samba

sane_backends

sdl

seahorse

shadowsocks_libev

sngrep

snort

socat

sofia_sip

speex

spice

sqlite

squashfs

squid

sslh

stellarium

strongswan

stunnel

subversion

sudo

suricata

sylpheed

syslogng

sysstat

systemd

tar

tcpdump

tcpreplay

terminology

tesseract

thrift

thttpd

thunderbird

timescaledb

tinyproxy

tor

tpm2_tss

traceroute

transmission

trousers

twonky_server

u_boot

udisks

unbound

unixodbc

upx

util_linux

varnish

vim

vlc

vorbis_tools

vsftpd

webkitgtk

wget

wireshark

wolfssl

wpa_supplicant

xerces

xml2

xscreensaver

xwayland

yasm

zabbix

zchunk

zeek

zlib

znc

zsh

zstandard

All the checkers can be found in the checkers directory, as can the instructions on how to add a new checker. Support for new checkers can be requested via GitHub issues.

Language Specific checkers

A number of checkers are available for finding vulnerable components in specific language packages.

Language Files supported
Dart pubspec.lock
Go Go.mod
Java pom.xml; JAR, WAR and EAR archives
JavaScript package-lock.json
Rust Cargo.lock
Ruby Gemfile.lock
R renv.lock
Swift Package.resolved
Python requirements.txt, PKG-INFO, METADATA; .whl and .egg files
Perl cpanfile

More information on language-specific checkers can be found in the CVE Binary Tool manual.

Supported Archive Formats

The following archive formats are currently supported by the auto-extractor:

Archive Format File Extension
zip .zip, .exe, .jar, .msi, .egg, .whl, .war, .ear
tar .tar, .tgz, .tar.gz, .tar.xz, .tar.bz2
deb .deb, .ipk
rpm .rpm
cab .cab
apk .apk
zst .zst
pkg .pkg

Additional Requirements

To use the auto-extractor, you may need the following utilities depending on the type of supported archive formats you need to extract.

The utilities below are required to run the full test suite on Linux:

  • file

  • strings

  • tar

  • unzip

  • rpm2cpio

  • cpio

  • ar

  • cabextract

Most of these are installed by default on many Linux systems, but cabextract and rpm2cpio in particular might need to be installed.

On windows systems, you may need:

  • ar

  • 7z

  • Expand

  • pdftotext

Windows has Expand installed by default, but ar and 7z might need to be installed. If you want to run our test-suite or scan a zstd compressed file, We recommend installing this 7-zip-zstd fork of 7zip. We are currently using 7z for extracting jar, apk, msi, exe and rpm files. To install ar you can install MinGW (which has binutils as a part of it) from here and run the downloaded .exe file.

If you get an error about building libraries when you try to install from pip, you may need to install the Windows build tools. The Windows build tools are available for free from https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/visual-cpp-build-tools/

If you get an error while installing brotlipy on Windows, installing the compiler above should fix it.

pdftotext is required for running tests. (users of cve-bin-tool may not need it, developers likely will.) The best approach to install it on Windows involves using conda (click here for further instructions).

You can check our CI configuration to see what versions of python we’re explicitly testing.

Limitations

This scanner does not attempt to exploit issues or examine the code in greater detail; it only looks for library signatures and version numbers. As such, it cannot tell if someone has backported fixes to a vulnerable version, and it will not work if library or version information was intentionally obfuscated.

This tool is meant to be used as a quick-to-run, easily-automatable check in a non-malicious environment so that developers can be made aware of old libraries with security issues that have been compiled into their binaries.

The tool does not guarantee that any vulnerabilities reported are actually present or exploitable, neither is it able to find all present vulnerabilities with a guarantee.

Users can add triage information to reports to mark issues as false positives, indicate that the risk has been mitigated by configuration/usage changes, and so on.

Triage details can be re-used on other projects so, for example, triage on a Linux base image could be applied to multiple containers using that image.

For more information and usage of triage information with the tool kindly have a look here.

If you are using the binary scanner capabilities, be aware that we only have a limited number of binary checkers (see table above) so we can only detect those libraries. Contributions of new checkers are always welcome! You can also use an alternate way to detect components (for example, a bill of materials tool such as tern) and then use the resulting list as input to cve-bin-tool to get a more comprehensive vulnerability list.

The tool uses a vulnerability database in order to detect the present vulnerabilities, in case the database is not frequently updated (specially if the tool is used in offline mode), the tool would be unable to detect any newly discovered vulnerabilities. Hence it is highly advised to keep the database updated.

The tool does not guarantee that all vulnerabilities are reported as the tool only has access to a limited number of publicly available vulnerability databases. Contributions to introduce new sources of data to the tool are always welcome.

Whilst some validation checks are performed on the data within the vulnerability database, the tool is unable to assert the quality of the data or correct any discrepancies if the data is incomplete or inconsistent. This may result, for example, in some vulnerability reports where the severity is reported as UNKNOWN.

Feedback & Contributions

Bugs and feature requests can be made via GitHub issues. Be aware that these issues are not private, so take care when providing output to make sure you are not disclosing security issues in other products.

Pull requests are also welcome via git.

  • New contributors should read the contributor guide to get started.

  • Folk who already have experience contributing to open source projects may not need the full guide but should still use the pull request checklist to make things easy for everyone.

CVE Binary Tool contributors are asked to adhere to the Python Community Code of Conduct. Please contact Terri if you have concerns or questions relating to this code of conduct.

Security Issues

Security issues with the tool itself can be reported to Intel’s security incident response team via https://intel.com/security.

If in the course of using this tool you discover a security issue with someone else’s code, please disclose responsibly to the appropriate party.

Full option list

Usage: cve-bin-tool <directory/file to scan>

options:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -e EXCLUDE, --exclude EXCLUDE
                        Comma separated Exclude directory path
  -V, --version         show program's version number and exit
  --disable-version-check
                        skips checking for a new version
  --disable-validation-check
                        skips checking xml files against schema
  --offline             operate in offline mode
  --detailed            add CVE description in csv or json report (no effect on console, html or pdf)

CVE Data Download:
  Arguments related to data sources and Cache Configuration

  -n {api,api2,json,json-mirror,json-nvd}, --nvd {api,api2,json,json-mirror,json-nvd}
                        choose method for getting CVE lists from NVD
  -u {now,daily,never,latest}, --update {now,daily,never,latest}
                        update schedule for data sources and exploits database (default: daily)
  --nvd-api-key NVD_API_KEY
                        specify NVD API key (used to improve NVD rate limit)
  -d DISABLE_DATA_SOURCE, --disable-data-source DISABLE_DATA_SOURCE
                        comma-separated list of data sources (CURL, EPSS, GAD, NVD, OSV, REDHAT, RSD) to disable (default: NONE) 

  --use-mirror USE_MIRROR
                        use an mirror to update the database

Input:
  directory             directory to scan
  -i INPUT_FILE, --input-file INPUT_FILE
                        provide input filename
  --triage-input-file TRIAGE_INPUT_FILE
                        provide input filename for triage data
  -C CONFIG, --config CONFIG
                        provide config file
  -L PACKAGE_LIST, --package-list PACKAGE_LIST
                        provide package list
  --sbom {spdx,cyclonedx,swid}
                        specify type of software bill of materials (sbom) (default: spdx)
  --sbom-file SBOM_FILE
                        provide sbom filename

Output:
  -q, --quiet           suppress output
  -l {debug,info,warning,error,critical}, --log {debug,info,warning,error,critical}
                        log level (default: info)
  -o OUTPUT_FILE, --output-file OUTPUT_FILE
                        provide output filename (default: output to stdout)
  --html-theme HTML_THEME
                        provide custom theme directory for HTML Report
  -f {csv,json,console,html,pdf}, --format {csv,json,console,html,pdf}
                        update output format (default: console)
                        specify multiple output formats by using comma (',') as a separator
                        note: don't use spaces between comma (',') and the output formats.
  --generate-config {yaml,toml,yaml,toml,toml,yaml}
                        generate config file for cve bin tool in toml and yaml formats.
  -c CVSS, --cvss CVSS  minimum CVSS score (as integer in range 0 to 10) to report (default: 0)
  -S {low,medium,high,critical}, --severity {low,medium,high,critical}
                        minimum CVE severity to report (default: low)
  --metrics             
                        check for metrics (e.g., EPSS) from found cves
  --epss-percentile EPSS_PERCENTILE
                        minimum epss percentile of CVE range between 0 to 100 to report
  --epss-probability EPSS_PROBABILITY
                        minimum epss probability of CVE range between 0 to 100 to report
  --no-0-cve-report     only produce report when CVEs are found
  -A [-], --available-fix [-]
                        Lists available fixes of the package from Linux distribution
  -b [-], --backport-fix [-]
                        Lists backported fixes if available from Linux distribution
  --affected-versions   Lists versions of product affected by a given CVE (to facilitate upgrades)
  --vex VEX             Provide vulnerability exchange (vex) filename
  --sbom-output SBOM_OUTPUT
                        provide software bill of materials (sbom) filename to generate
  --sbom-type {spdx,cyclonedx}
                        specify type of software bill of materials (sbom) to generate (default: spdx)
  --sbom-format {tag,json,yaml}
                        specify format of software bill of materials (sbom) to generate (default: tag)

Merge Report:
  Arguments related to Intermediate and Merged Reports

  -a [APPEND], --append [APPEND]
                        save output as intermediate report in json format
  -t TAG, --tag TAG     add a unique tag to differentiate between multiple intermediate reports
  -m MERGE, --merge MERGE
                        comma separated intermediate reports path for merging
  -F FILTER, --filter FILTER
                        comma separated tag string for filtering intermediate reports

Checkers:
  -s SKIPS, --skips SKIPS
                        comma-separated list of checkers to disable
  -r RUNS, --runs RUNS  comma-separated list of checkers to enable

Database Management:
  --import-json IMPORT_JSON
                        import database from json files chopped by years
  --ignore-sig          do not verify PGP signature while importing json data
  --log-signature-error
                        when the signature doesn't match log the error only instead of halting (UNSAFE)
  --verify PGP_PUBKEY_PATH
                        verify PGP sign while importing json files
  --export-json EXPORT_JSON
                        export database as json files chopped by years
  --pgp-sign PGP_PRIVATE_KEY_PATH
                        sign exported json files with PGP
  --passphrase PASSPHRASE
                        required passphrase for signing with PGP
  --export EXPORT       export database filename
  --import IMPORT       import database filename

Exploits:
  --exploits            check for exploits from found cves

Deprecated:
  -x, --extract         autoextract compressed files
  --report              Produces a report even if there are no CVE for the respective output format

For further information about all of these options, please see the CVE Binary Tool user manual.