Introducing the Secure Open Source Pilot Program

Posted by Meder Kydyraliev and Kim Lewandowski, Google Open Source Security Team Over the past year we have made a number of investments to strengthen the security of critical open source projects, and recently announced our $10 billion commitment to cybersecurity defense including $100 million to support third-party foundations that manage open source security priorities […]

Over the past year we have made a number of investments to strengthen the security of critical open source projects, and recently announced our $10 billion commitment to cybersecurity defense including $100 million to support third-party foundations that manage open source security priorities and help fix vulnerabilities.

Today, we are excited to announce our sponsorship for the Secure Open Source (SOS) pilot program run by the Linux Foundation. This program financially rewards developers for enhancing the security of critical open source projects that we all depend on. We are starting with a $1 million investment and plan to expand the scope of the program based on community feedback.

Why SOS?
SOS rewards a very broad range of improvements that proactively harden critical open source projects and supporting infrastructure against application and supply chain attacks. To complement existing programs that reward vulnerability management, SOS’s scope is comparatively wider in the type of work it rewards, in order to support project developers.
What projects are in scope?

Since there is no one definition of what makes an open source project critical, our selection process will be holistic. During submission evaluation we will consider the guidelines established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s definition in response to the recent Executive Order on Cybersecurity along with criteria listed below:

  • The impact of the project:
    • How many and what types of users will be affected by the security improvements?
    • Will the improvements have a significant impact on infrastructure and user security?
    • If the project were compromised, how serious or wide-reaching would the implications be?
  • The project’s rankings in existing open source criticality research:


What security improvements qualify? 

The program is initially focused on rewarding the following work:

  • Software supply chain security improvements including hardening CI/CD pipelines and distribution infrastructure. The SLSA framework suggests specific requirements to consider, such as basic provenance generation and verification.
  • Adoption of software artifact signing and verification. One option to consider is Sigstore’s set of utilities (e.g. cosign).
  • Project improvements that produce higher OpenSSF Scorecard results. For example, a contributor can follow remediation suggestions for the following Scorecard checks:
    • Code-Review
    • Branch-Protection
    • Pinned-Dependencies
    • Dependency-Update-Tool
    • Fuzzing
  • Use of OpenSSF Allstar and remediation of discovered issues.
  • Earning a CII Best Practice Badge (which also improves the Scorecard results).

We’ll continue adding to the above list, so check our FAQ for updates. You may also submit improvements not listed above, if you provide justification and evidence to help us understand the complexity and impact of the work.

Only work completed after October 1, 2021 qualifies for SOS rewards.

Upfront funding is available on a limited case by case basis for impactful improvements of moderate to high complexity over a longer time span. Such requests should explain why funding is required upfront and provide a detailed plan of how the improvements will be landed.

How to participate
Review our FAQ and fill out this form to submit your application.

Please include as much data or supporting evidence as possible to help us evaluate the significance of the project and your improvements. 


Reward amounts
Reward amounts are determined based on complexity and impact of work:

  • $10,000 or more for complicated, high-impact and lasting improvements that almost certainly prevent major vulnerabilities in the affected code or supporting infrastructure.
  • $5,000-$10,000 for moderately complex improvements that offer compelling security benefits.
  • $1,000-$5,000 for submissions of modest complexity and impact.
  • $505 for small improvements that nevertheless have merit from a security standpoint.


Looking Ahead

The SOS program is part of a broader effort to address a growing truth: the world relies on open source software, but widespread support and financial contributions are necessary to keep that software safe and secure. This $1 million investment is just the beginning—we envision the SOS pilot program as the starting point for future efforts that will hopefully bring together other large organizations and turn it into a sustainable, long-term initiative under the OpenSSF. We welcome community feedback and interest from others who want to contribute to the SOS program. Together we can pool our support to give back to the open source community that makes the modern internet possible.


Source: Google Online Security