A Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) is a list of all components (both open source and third-party) in a software release. This information is used for security analysis, license compliance, and configuration management.
NTIA has released a several part video explaining what is an SBOM:
- SBOM Explainer: What Is an SBOM? Part 1
- SBOM Explainer: What is an SBOM? Part 2
- SBOM Explainer: What is an SBOM? Part 3
Why are SBOMs a Necessity?
White House Executive Order 14028 mandated changes in the development and procurement of software by the US Federal Government to address persistent and increasingly sophisticated malicious cyber campaigns that threaten the public sector. This mandate resulted in responses from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
OMB M-22-18 requires contracts to include provisions to allow delivery of SBOMs as a part of demonstrating conformance to secure software development practices. These SBOMs must meet NTIA's The Minimum Elements For a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM).
What is in an SBOM?
The NTIA's The Minimum Elements For a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) outlines minimum elements of an SBOM to meet White House Executive Order 14028 mandates.
- Supplier Name
- Component Name
- Version of the Component
- Other Unique Identifiers
- Dependency Relationship
- Author of SBOM Data
Additionally license information should be included in the SBOM for each component to ensure license compliance can be automated.
- License Information
Which SBOM Standard to Use?
We require using CycloneDX as an industry open standard developed by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) community. It is a lightweight SBOM format focused on ease of adoption and automation of SBOM generation throughout your software development pipeline.
We do not support other standards like SPDX. If you generate SPDX SBOMs, please use a conversion tool to CycloneDX. Your mileage may vary on the effectiveness of conversion tools.
How to create an SBOM?
The best time to generate an SBOM is during the software build, as this is the time in which dependences are known and easily analyzed. CycloneDX maintains cdxgen which supports a variety of language package managers. If build-time SBOM generation is not available, tools like Trivy and Syft can create CycloneDX SBOMs through analysis.
Ultimately the CycloneDX SBOMs may need the NTIA minimum elements added. We recommend using common linux tools like
jq to add missing infomation in a automated fashion.
How to Validate an SBOM?
We encourage using Hoppr to validate SBOMs before submitting to customers to ensure compliance to the required elements.