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Nikita Koselev
Nikita Koselev

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Embracing Transparency: Dr. Allan Friedman's Vision for Open Source Security

At the recent State Of Open Conference 2024 (SOOCon24), Dr. Allan Friedman, a leading figure in cybersecurity from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), shared profound insights on the future of cybersecurity within the open source community. His keynote not only highlighted the challenges faced by the community but also offered a roadmap towards a more secure digital future through the lens of transparency and collaboration.

The Foundation of Open Source: Transparency

Transparency is the bedrock upon which the open source community is built. However, as Dr. Friedman elucidated, its significance extends far beyond the availability of source code; it's about creating an ecosystem where security practices, vulnerabilities, and solutions are openly shared. This approach not only aids in early detection and resolution of security issues but also fosters a culture of trust and collective responsibility.

The Strategic Role of SBOMs and VEX

A pivotal part of Dr. Friedman's talk centered on the importance of Software Bill of Materials (SBOMs) and the Vulnerability Exploitability eXchange (VEX). SBOMs provide a detailed inventory of software components, enhancing visibility and aiding in risk management. Complementarily, VEX documents offer attestation regarding the exploitability of components, streamlining the vulnerability management process. Together, they empower developers, choosers, and operators with the information needed to secure software more effectively.

Shifting the Paradigm: From Attacker Roadmaps to Defender Guides

Dr. Friedman challenged the conventional fear that transparency might inadvertently aid attackers. He proposed a paradigm shift towards equipping defenders with scalable roadmaps, enabling them to understand and focus on genuine threats. This shift from a reactive to a proactive security posture is crucial for the open source community's resilience against cyber threats.

The CISA Open Source Software Security Roadmap

Highlighting the "CISA Open Source Software Security Roadmap," Dr. Friedman underscored the concerted efforts being made to secure the open source ecosystem. This roadmap lays out a strategic framework for vulnerability disclosure, SBOM adoption, and the promotion of security best practices, emphasizing the government's role in bolstering open source security.

Towards a Future of Radical Transparency

Dr. Friedman's call for "radical transparency" underscores the need for open disclosure of vulnerabilities and security strategies. This approach, he argues, is vital for preparing and protecting against threats in a collaborative manner. As the open source community continues to grow, embracing radical transparency will be key to ensuring its sustainability and security.


Dr. Allan Friedman's insights at SOOCon24 serve as a clarion call to the open source community to embrace transparency, collaboration, and proactive security measures. By adopting SBOMs, VEX, and committing to open communication, the community can navigate the complex landscape of cybersecurity threats and safeguard our digital infrastructure. As we move forward, it's clear that transparency isn't just a principle; it's our strongest tool in the fight for a more secure open source ecosystem.

For a deeper dive into Dr. Friedman's vision and insights, watch the full recording of his talk at SOOCon24: .

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