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Securing Open Source Libraries by Guy Podjarny

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Chapter 3. Fixing Vulnerable Packages

Finding out if you’re using vulnerable packages is an important step, but it’s not the real goal. The real goal is to fix those issues!

This chapter focuses on all you should know about fixing vulnerable packages, including remediation options, tooling, and various nuances. Note that SCA tools traditionally focused on finding or preventing vulnerabilities, and most put little emphasis on fix beyond providing advisory information or logging an issue. Therefore, you may need to implement some of these remediations yourself, at least until more SCA solutions expand to include them.

There are several ways to fix vulnerable packages, but upgrading is the best choice. If that is not possible, patching offers a good alternative. The following sections discuss each of these options, and we will later take a look at what you can do in situations where neither of these solutions is possible.

Upgrading

As I’ve previously stated, a vulnerability is a type of bug, and the best way to address a bug is to use a newer version where it is fixed. And so, the best way to fix a vulnerable dependency is to upgrade to a newer version. Statistically, most disclosed vulnerabilities are eventually fixed. In npm, 59% of reported vulnerabilities have a fix. In Maven, 90% are remediable, while that portion is 85% in RubyGems.1 In other words, more often than not, there is a version of your library where the vulnerability is fixed.

Finding a vulnerable package requires ...

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