Dependency Scanning

The Dependency Scanning feature can automatically find security vulnerabilities in your dependencies while you’re developing and testing your applications. For example, dependency scanning lets you know if your application uses an external (open source) library that is known to be vulnerable. You can then take action to protect your application.

Overview

If you’re using GitLab CI/CD, you can use dependency scanning to analyze your dependencies for known vulnerabilities. GitLab scans all dependencies, including transitive dependencies (also known as nested dependencies). You can take advantage of dependency scanning by either:

GitLab checks the dependency scanning report, compares the found vulnerabilities between the source and target branches, and shows the information on the merge request.

Dependency scanning Widget

The results are sorted by the severity of the vulnerability:

  1. Critical
  2. High
  3. Medium
  4. Low
  5. Unknown
  6. Everything else

Requirements

To run dependency scanning jobs, by default, you need GitLab Runner with the docker or kubernetes executor. If you’re using the shared runners on GitLab.com, this is enabled by default.

cautionIf you use your own runners, make sure your installed version of Docker is not 19.03.0. See troubleshooting information for details.

Supported languages and package managers

GitLab relies on rules to start relevant analyzers depending on the languages detected in the repository. The current detection logic limits the maximum search depth to two levels. For example, the gemnasium-dependency_scanning job is enabled if a repository contains either a Gemfile or api/Gemfile file, but not if the only supported dependency file is api/client/Gemfile.

The following languages and dependency managers are supported:

Package Managers Languages Supported files Scan tools
Bundler Ruby Gemfile.lock, gems.locked Gemnasium, bundler-audit
Composer PHP composer.lock Gemnasium
Conan C, C++ conan.lock Gemnasium
Golang Go go.sum Gemnasium
Gradle, Maven Java build.gradle, build.gradle.kts, pom.xml Gemnasium
npm, yarn 1.x JavaScript package-lock.json, npm-shrinkwrap.json, yarn.lock Gemnasium
npm (7 and earlier), yarn 1.x JavaScript package.json Retire.js
NuGet 4.9+ .NET, C# packages.lock.json Gemnasium
setuptools, pip, Pipenv (1) Python setup.py, requirements.txt, requirements.pip, requires.txt, Pipfile, Pipfile.lock Gemnasium
sbt (2) Scala build.sbt Gemnasium
  1. Pipenv projects are scanned when a Pipfile is present.
  2. Support for sbt 1.3 and above was added in GitLab 13.9.

Plans are underway for supporting the following languages, dependency managers, and dependency files. For details, see the issue link for each.

Package Managers Languages Supported files Scan tools Issue
Poetry Python poetry.lock Gemnasium GitLab#7006

Contribute your scanner

The Security Scanner Integration documentation explains how to integrate other security scanners into GitLab.

Configuration

To enable dependency scanning for GitLab 11.9 and later, you must include the Dependency-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml template that is provided as a part of your GitLab installation. For GitLab versions earlier than 11.9, you can copy and use the job as defined that template.

Add the following to your .gitlab-ci.yml file:

include:
  - template: Dependency-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

The included template creates dependency scanning jobs in your CI/CD pipeline and scans your project’s source code for possible vulnerabilities. The results are saved as a dependency scanning report artifact that you can later download and analyze. Due to implementation limitations, we always take the latest dependency scanning artifact available.

Customizing the dependency scanning settings

The dependency scanning settings can be changed through CI/CD variables by using the variables parameter in .gitlab-ci.yml. For example:

include:
  - template: Dependency-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

variables:
  SECURE_LOG_LEVEL: error

Because template is evaluated before the pipeline configuration, the last mention of the variable takes precedence.

Overriding dependency scanning jobs

cautionBeginning in GitLab 13.0, the use of only and except is no longer supported. When overriding the template, you must use rules instead.

To override a job definition (for example, to change properties like variables or dependencies), declare a new job with the same name as the one to override. Place this new job after the template inclusion and specify any additional keys under it. For example, this disables DS_REMEDIATE for the gemnasium analyzer:

include:
  - template: Dependency-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

gemnasium-dependency_scanning:
  variables:
    DS_REMEDIATE: "false"

To override the dependencies: [] attribute, add an override job as above, targeting this attribute:

include:
  - template: Dependency-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

gemnasium-dependency_scanning:
  dependencies: ["build"]

Available variables

Dependency scanning can be configured using environment variables.

Configuring dependency scanning

The following variables allow configuration of global dependency scanning settings.

CI/CD variables Description
ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE Bundle of CA certs to trust. The bundle of certificates provided here is also used by other tools during the scanning process, such as git, yarn, or npm. See Using a custom SSL CA certificate authority for more details.
DS_DEFAULT_ANALYZERS Override the names of the official default images. Read more about customizing analyzers.
DS_EXCLUDED_PATHS Exclude vulnerabilities from output based on the paths. A comma-separated list of patterns. Patterns can be globs, or file or folder paths (for example, doc,spec). Parent directories also match patterns. Default: "spec, test, tests, tmp".
SECURE_ANALYZERS_PREFIX Override the name of the Docker registry providing the official default images (proxy). Read more about customizing analyzers.
SECURE_LOG_LEVEL Set the minimum logging level. Messages of this logging level or higher are output. From highest to lowest severity, the logging levels are: fatal, error, warn, info, debug. Introduced in GitLab 13.1. Default: info.

Configuring specific analyzers used by dependency scanning

The following variables are used for configuring specific analyzers (used for a specific language/framework).

CI/CD variable Analyzer Default Description
BUNDLER_AUDIT_UPDATE_DISABLED bundler-audit "false" Disable automatic updates for the bundler-audit analyzer. Use if you’re running dependency scanning in an offline, air-gapped environment.
BUNDLER_AUDIT_ADVISORY_DB_URL bundler-audit https://github.com/rubysec/ruby-advisory-db URL of the advisory database used by bundler-audit.
BUNDLER_AUDIT_ADVISORY_DB_REF_NAME bundler-audit master Git ref for the advisory database specified by BUNDLER_AUDIT_ADVISORY_DB_URL.
GEMNASIUM_DB_LOCAL_PATH gemnasium /gemnasium-db Path to local Gemnasium database.
GEMNASIUM_DB_REMOTE_URL gemnasium https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/gemnasium-db.git Repository URL for fetching the Gemnasium database.
GEMNASIUM_DB_REF_NAME gemnasium master Branch name for remote repository database. GEMNASIUM_DB_REMOTE_URL is required.
DS_REMEDIATE gemnasium "true" Enable automatic remediation of vulnerable dependencies.
DS_JAVA_VERSION gemnasium-maven 11 Version of Java. Available versions: 8, 11, 13, 14. Maven and Gradle use the Java version specified by this value.
MAVEN_CLI_OPTS gemnasium-maven "-DskipTests --batch-mode" List of command line arguments that are passed to maven by the analyzer. See an example for using private repositories.
GRADLE_CLI_OPTS gemnasium-maven   List of command line arguments that are passed to gradle by the analyzer.
SBT_CLI_OPTS gemnasium-maven   List of command-line arguments that the analyzer passes to sbt.
PIP_INDEX_URL gemnasium-python https://pypi.org/simple Base URL of Python Package Index.
PIP_EXTRA_INDEX_URL gemnasium-python   Array of extra URLs of package indexes to use in addition to PIP_INDEX_URL. Comma-separated.
PIP_REQUIREMENTS_FILE gemnasium-python   Pip requirements file to be scanned.
DS_PIP_VERSION gemnasium-python   Force the install of a specific pip version (example: "19.3"), otherwise the pip installed in the Docker image is used. (Introduced in GitLab 12.7)
DS_PIP_DEPENDENCY_PATH gemnasium-python   Path to load Python pip dependencies from. (Introduced in GitLab 12.2)
DS_PYTHON_VERSION retire.js   Version of Python. If set to 2, dependencies are installed using Python 2.7 instead of Python 3.6. (Introduced in GitLab 12.1, removed in GitLab 13.7).
RETIREJS_JS_ADVISORY_DB retire.js https://raw.githubusercontent.com/RetireJS/retire.js/master/repository/jsrepository.json Path or URL to retire.js JS vulnerability data file. Note that if the URL hosting the data file uses a custom SSL certificate, for example in an offline installation, you can pass the certificate in the ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE variable.
RETIREJS_NODE_ADVISORY_DB retire.js https://raw.githubusercontent.com/RetireJS/retire.js/master/repository/npmrepository.json Path or URL to retire.js node vulnerability data file. Note that if the URL hosting the data file uses a custom SSL certificate, for example in an offline installation, you can pass the certificate in the ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE variable.
RETIREJS_ADVISORY_DB_INSECURE retire.js false Enable fetching remote JS and Node vulnerability data files (defined by the RETIREJS_JS_ADVISORY_DB and RETIREJS_NODE_ADVISORY_DB variables) from hosts using an insecure or self-signed SSL (TLS) certificate.

Using a custom SSL CA certificate authority

You can use the ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE CI/CD variable to configure a custom SSL CA certificate authority. The ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE value should contain the text representation of the X.509 PEM public-key certificate. For example, to configure this value in the .gitlab-ci.yml file, use the following:

variables:
  ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE: |
      -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
      MIIGqTCCBJGgAwIBAgIQI7AVxxVwg2kch4d56XNdDjANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQsFADCB
      ...
      jWgmPqF3vUbZE0EyScetPJquRFRKIesyJuBFMAs=
      -----END CERTIFICATE-----

The ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE value can also be configured as a custom variable in the UI, either as a file, which requires the path to the certificate, or as a variable, which requires the text representation of the certificate.

Using private Maven repositories

If your private Maven repository requires login credentials, you can use the MAVEN_CLI_OPTS CI/CD variable.

Read more on how to use private Maven repositories.

Interacting with the vulnerabilities

Once a vulnerability is found, you can interact with it. Read more on how to interact with the vulnerabilities.

Solutions for vulnerabilities (auto-remediation)

Some vulnerabilities can be fixed by applying the solution that GitLab automatically generates. Read more about the solutions for vulnerabilities.

Security Dashboard

The Security Dashboard is a good place to get an overview of all the security vulnerabilities in your groups, projects and pipelines. Read more about the Security Dashboard.

Vulnerabilities database update

For more information about the vulnerabilities database update, check the maintenance table.

Dependency List

An additional benefit of dependency scanning is the ability to view your project’s dependencies and their known vulnerabilities. Read more about the Dependency List.

Reports JSON format

The dependency scanning tool emits a JSON report file. For more information, see the schema for this report.

Here’s an example dependency scanning report:

{
  "version": "2.0",
  "vulnerabilities": [
    {
      "id": "51e83874-0ff6-4677-a4c5-249060554eae",
      "category": "dependency_scanning",
      "name": "Regular Expression Denial of Service",
      "message": "Regular Expression Denial of Service in debug",
      "description": "The debug module is vulnerable to regular expression denial of service when untrusted user input is passed into the `o` formatter. It takes around 50k characters to block for 2 seconds making this a low severity issue.",
      "severity": "Unknown",
      "solution": "Upgrade to latest versions.",
      "scanner": {
        "id": "gemnasium",
        "name": "Gemnasium"
      },
      "location": {
        "file": "yarn.lock",
        "dependency": {
          "package": {
            "name": "debug"
          },
          "version": "1.0.5"
        }
      },
      "identifiers": [
        {
          "type": "gemnasium",
          "name": "Gemnasium-37283ed4-0380-40d7-ada7-2d994afcc62a",
          "value": "37283ed4-0380-40d7-ada7-2d994afcc62a",
          "url": "https://deps.sec.gitlab.com/packages/npm/debug/versions/1.0.5/advisories"
        }
      ],
      "links": [
        {
          "url": "https://nodesecurity.io/advisories/534"
        },
        {
          "url": "https://github.com/visionmedia/debug/issues/501"
        },
        {
          "url": "https://github.com/visionmedia/debug/pull/504"
        }
      ]
    },
    {
      "id": "5d681b13-e8fa-4668-957e-8d88f932ddc7",
      "category": "dependency_scanning",
      "name": "Authentication bypass via incorrect DOM traversal and canonicalization",
      "message": "Authentication bypass via incorrect DOM traversal and canonicalization in saml2-js",
      "description": "Some XML DOM traversal and canonicalization APIs may be inconsistent in handling of comments within XML nodes. Incorrect use of these APIs by some SAML libraries results in incorrect parsing of the inner text of XML nodes such that any inner text after the comment is lost prior to cryptographically signing the SAML message. Text after the comment, therefore, has no impact on the signature on the SAML message.\r\n\r\nA remote attacker can modify SAML content for a SAML service provider without invalidating the cryptographic signature, which may allow attackers to bypass primary authentication for the affected SAML service provider.",
      "severity": "Unknown",
      "solution": "Upgrade to fixed version.\r\n",
      "scanner": {
        "id": "gemnasium",
        "name": "Gemnasium"
      },
      "location": {
        "file": "yarn.lock",
        "dependency": {
          "package": {
            "name": "saml2-js"
          },
          "version": "1.5.0"
        }
      },
      "identifiers": [
        {
          "type": "gemnasium",
          "name": "Gemnasium-9952e574-7b5b-46fa-a270-aeb694198a98",
          "value": "9952e574-7b5b-46fa-a270-aeb694198a98",
          "url": "https://deps.sec.gitlab.com/packages/npm/saml2-js/versions/1.5.0/advisories"
        },
        {
          "type": "cve",
          "name": "CVE-2017-11429",
          "value": "CVE-2017-11429",
          "url": "https://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2017-11429"
        }
      ],
      "links": [
        {
          "url": "https://github.com/Clever/saml2/commit/3546cb61fd541f219abda364c5b919633609ef3d#diff-af730f9f738de1c9ad87596df3f6de84R279"
        },
        {
          "url": "https://github.com/Clever/saml2/issues/127"
        },
        {
          "url": "https://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/475445"
        }
      ]
    }
  ],
  "remediations": [
    {
      "fixes": [
        {
          "id": "5d681b13-e8fa-4668-957e-8d88f932ddc7",
        }
      ],
      "summary": "Upgrade saml2-js",
      "diff": "ZGlmZiAtLWdpdCBhL...OR0d1ZUc2THh3UT09Cg==" // some content is omitted for brevity
    }
  ]
}

Versioning and release process

Please check the Release Process documentation.

Contributing to the vulnerability database

You can search the gemnasium-db project to find a vulnerability in the Gemnasium database. You can also submit new vulnerabilities.

Running dependency scanning in an offline environment

For self-managed GitLab instances in an environment with limited, restricted, or intermittent access to external resources through the internet, some adjustments are required for dependency scanning jobs to run successfully. For more information, see Offline environments.

Requirements for offline dependency scanning

Here are the requirements for using dependency scanning in an offline environment:

  • GitLab Runner with the docker or kubernetes executor.
  • Docker Container Registry with locally available copies of dependency scanning analyzer images.
  • If you have a limited access environment you need to allow access, such as using a proxy, to the advisory database: https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/gemnasium-db.git. If you are unable to permit access to https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/gemnasium-db.git you must host an offline copy of this git repository and set the GEMNASIUM_DB_REMOTE_URL CI/CD variable to the URL of this repository. For more information on configuration variables, see Dependency Scanning.

    This advisory database is constantly being updated, so you must periodically sync your local copy with GitLab.

  • Only if scanning Ruby projects: Host an offline Git copy of the advisory database.
  • Only if scanning npm/yarn projects: Host an offline copy of the retire.js node and js advisory databases.

Note that GitLab Runner has a default pull policy of always, meaning the runner tries to pull Docker images from the GitLab container registry even if a local copy is available. The GitLab Runner pull_policy can be set to if-not-present in an offline environment if you prefer using only locally available Docker images. However, we recommend keeping the pull policy setting to always if not in an offline environment, as this enables the use of updated scanners in your CI/CD pipelines.

Make GitLab dependency scanning analyzer images available inside your Docker registry

For dependency scanning with all supported languages and frameworks, import the following default dependency scanning analyzer images from registry.gitlab.com into your local Docker container registry:

registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/analyzers/gemnasium:2
registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/analyzers/gemnasium-maven:2
registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/analyzers/gemnasium-python:2
registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/analyzers/retire.js:2
registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/analyzers/bundler-audit:2

The process for importing Docker images into a local offline Docker registry depends on your network security policy. Please consult your IT staff to find an accepted and approved process by which external resources can be imported or temporarily accessed. Note that these scanners are updated periodically with new definitions, so consider if you can make periodic updates yourself.

For details on saving and transporting Docker images as a file, see Docker’s documentation on docker save, docker load, docker export, and docker import.

Support for Custom Certificate Authorities

Support for custom certificate authorities was introduced in the following versions.

Analyzer Version
gemnasium v2.8.0
gemnasium-maven v2.9.0
gemnasium-python v2.7.0
retire.js v2.4.0
bundler-audit v2.4.0

Set dependency scanning CI/CD job variables to use local dependency scanning analyzers

Add the following configuration to your .gitlab-ci.yml file. You must change the value of SECURE_ANALYZERS_PREFIX to refer to your local Docker container registry. You must also change the value of GEMNASIUM_DB_REMOTE_URL to the location of your offline Git copy of the gemnasium-db advisory database:

include:
  - template: Dependency-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

variables:
  SECURE_ANALYZERS_PREFIX: "docker-registry.example.com/analyzers"
  GEMNASIUM_DB_REMOTE_URL: "gitlab.example.com/gemnasium-db.git"

See explanations of the variables above in the configuration section.

Specific settings for languages and package managers

See the following sections for configuring specific languages and package managers.

JavaScript (npm and yarn) projects

Add the following to the variables section of .gitlab-ci.yml:

RETIREJS_JS_ADVISORY_DB: "example.com/jsrepository.json"
RETIREJS_NODE_ADVISORY_DB: "example.com/npmrepository.json"

Ruby (gem) projects

Add the following to the variables section of .gitlab-ci.yml:

BUNDLER_AUDIT_ADVISORY_DB_REF_NAME: "master"
BUNDLER_AUDIT_ADVISORY_DB_URL: "gitlab.example.com/ruby-advisory-db.git"

Python (setup tools)

When using self-signed certificates for your private PyPi repository, no extra job configuration (aside from the template .gitlab-ci.yml above) is needed. However, you must update your setup.py to ensure that it can reach your private repository. Here is an example configuration:

  1. Update setup.py to create a dependency_links attribute pointing at your private repository for each dependency in the install_requires list:

    install_requires=['pyparsing>=2.0.3'],
    dependency_links=['https://pypi.example.com/simple/pyparsing'],
    
  2. Fetch the certificate from your repository URL and add it to the project:

    echo -n | openssl s_client -connect pypi.example.com:443 | sed -ne '/-BEGIN CERTIFICATE-/,/-END CERTIFICATE-/p' > internal.crt
    
  3. Point setup.py at the newly downloaded certificate:

    import setuptools.ssl_support
    setuptools.ssl_support.cert_paths = ['internal.crt']
    

Limitations

Referencing local dependencies using a path in JavaScript projects

The Retire.js analyzer doesn’t support dependency references made with local paths in the package.json of JavaScript projects. The dependency scan outputs the following error for such references:

ERROR: Could not find dependencies: <dependency-name>. You may need to run npm install

As a workaround, remove the retire.js analyzer from DS_DEFAULT_ANALYZERS.

Troubleshooting

Error response from daemon: error processing tar file: docker-tar: relocation error

This error occurs when the Docker version that runs the dependency scanning job is 19.03.0. Consider updating to Docker 19.03.1 or greater. Older versions are not affected. Read more in this issue.

Getting warning message gl-dependency-scanning-report.json: no matching files

For information on this, see the general Application Security troubleshooting section.

Limitation when using rules:exists

The dependency scanning CI template uses the rules:exists syntax. This directive is limited to 10000 checks and always returns true after reaching this number. Because of this, and depending on the number of files in your repository, a dependency scanning job might be triggered even if the scanner doesn’t support your project.

Issues building projects with npm or yarn packages relying on Python 2

Python 2 was removed from the retire.js analyzer in GitLab 13.7 (analyzer version 2.10.1). Projects using packages with a dependency on this version of Python should use retire.js version 2.10.0 or lower (for example, registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/analyzers/retire.js:2.10.0).

Error: dependency_scanning is used for configuration only, and its script should not be executed

For information on this, see the GitLab Secure troubleshooting section.