Press Release

CISA Issues Request for Comment on Software Identification Ecosystem Analysis White Paper


WASHINGTON – The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is announcing a request for comment on our analysis or approaches in “Software Identification Ecosystem Option Analysis,” white paper that was published today outlining a collective, community goal for a more harmonized software identification ecosystem that can be used across the complete, global software space for all key cybersecurity use cases.

The white paper identifies two requirements that are lacking across a sufficient percentage of software used in modern enterprises:

  1. Timely availability of software identifiers across all software items, and
  2. Software identifiers that support both precision and grouping.

"A more robust software identifier ecosystem must be established for a harmonized software identification ecosystem that facilitates greater automation, inventory visibility, and the multifaceted value proposition of SBOM's broad adoption," said Sandy Radesky, Associate Director for Vulnerability Management. "In our ongoing pursuit to transform vulnerability management, our draft white paper seeks to catalyze community discussion and action by presenting our analysis and paths aimed to address key challenges to software identification. We strongly encourage this community to review the paper and provide input that can help collectively strengthen and improve vulnerability management for all organizations."

CISA and HSSEDI (Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute) experts identified three features that are important for a software identifier ecosystem:

  • An identifier scheme with properties common to the SBOM and vulnerability management use cases, such as software name and version.
  • A global authority that establishes common rules, assigns responsibilities, and identifies and addresses issues for the identifier generators would likely improve the overall accuracy and robustness of the software identifier ecosystem.

The paper presents six potential paths along with benefits, challenges and community or authority structures that would be needed to develop and sustain the identifier format ecosystem. It also offers potential software identifier formats that appear to be the most promising as starting points. These options are provided to the community as starting points to refine the merits of various operational models.

For more information, visit Federal Register: Request for Comment on Software Identification Ecosystem Option Analysis. Comments are requested on or before December 11, 2023.