The US Open Source Software Protection Act of 2022 is a step in the right direction

Cybersecurity continues to be a hot topic. More and more organizations are being hit by ransomware attacks, critical open source vulnerabilities are making the news, and we’re seeing industries and governments come together to discuss initiatives to improve software security.

Over the past few years, the US government has been working with the technology industry and open source organizations, such as the Linux Foundation and the Open Source Security Foundation, to offer a number of initiatives.

The White House Executive Order to Improve the Nation’s Cybersecurity has undoubtedly spurred subsequent initiatives and defined requirements for government agencies to take action on software security and open source security in particular. Important White House meeting with tech industry leaders they created active working groups and just a few weeks later issued Open Source Software Security Mobilization Plan. This plan included 10 work streams and a budget designed to address high-priority areas of security in open source software, from training and digital signatures to code reviews for top open source projects and issuing a software bill of materials (SBOM ).

The law directly addresses the three main areas of focus for improving open source security: vulnerability discovery and disclosure, SBOM, and OSPO.

One recent government initiative on open source security is Open Source Software Protection Act, bipartisan legislation from U.S. Senators Gary Peters, Democrat of Michigan, and Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio. Senators Peters and Portman are the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees. They were on Log4j Senate hearingsand subsequently introduced this legislation to improve open source security and best practices in government by establishing the duties of the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

This is a landmark in US legislation as it is the first time it is specific to the security of open source software. The legislation recognizes the importance of open source software and recognizes that “a secure, healthy, vibrant, and sustainable open source software ecosystem is critical to ensuring the national security and economic vitality of the United States.” Finally, it states that the federal government should play a supporting role in ensuring the long-term security of open source software.

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