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Snapshotting the NVD

The Mirroring the NVD from NIST topic describes briefly how to use the Nist-Data-Mirror project to cache the NVD locally and run Dependency Check (D-C) against the local cache.

This topic goes into a bit more depth with the cli client, focusing on the following use case.

  1. You wish to have daily local snapshots of the NVD, so that
  2. in order to compare later runs of D-C with earlier runs, you can compare “apples with apples”.

In other words: It is sometimes desirable to run a comparison D-C analysis against the same NVD snapshot that an earlier D-C report used.

In the steps below, concrete examples will be given assuming an Ubuntu Linux system. Hopefully, enough explanation is provided that the steps can easily be translated to other systems.

Build Nist-Data-Mirror

  1. Perform a “git clone” of Nist-Data-Mirror
  2. Follow the build and run instructions. You will be left with a build artifact called nist-data-mirror.jar.

Set Up a Daily NVD Download Job

On Linux, the way to do this using the cron daemon. “Cron jobs” are configured by invoking crontab. For example, invoke crontab -e to add a line like the following to your crontab file:

4 5 * * * ~/.local/bin/ ~/NVD ~/.local/jars

This would run a job on your system at 4:05 AM daily to run the shell script with the two given arguments. The script is simple:

NVD_ROOT=$1/`date -I`
java -jar $JAR_PATH $NVD_ROOT
rm $NVD_ROOT/*.xml # D-C works directly with .gz files anyway.

Nist-Data-Mirror will automatically create the directory, download the .xml.gz files, and extract the .xml files alongside them. Given the parameters in the cron example above, the new directory will be ~/NVD/2015-08-03 if executed on August 3rd, 2015. The download for 2015-08-03 pulled 47 MiB, and took up a total of 668 MiB after extracting from the compressed archive format. It turns out that D-C works directly with the .xml.gz files, so the above script preserves disk space by deleting the .xml files.

Invoke the Command-Line Using a Specific Daily Snapshot

An example script named is shown below, which facilitates a D-C scan against an arbitrary NVD snapshot:

NVD_PATH=$1/`date -I -d $2`
shift 2 # We've used the first two params. The rest go to CLI_SCRIPT.
$CLI_SCRIPT --cveUrl20Base $NVD/nvdcve-2.0-%d.xml.gz \
    --cveUrl12Base $NVD/nvdcve-%d.xml.gz \
    --cveUrl20Modified $NVD/nvdcve-2.0-Modified.xml.gz \
    --cveUrl12Modified $NVD/nvdcve-Modified.xml.gz \
    --data $NVD_PATH $@

The script takes advantage of the date command’s ability to parse a variety of date formats. The following invocation would successfully point to the ~/NVD/2015-08-03 folder.

$ ./ ~/NVD "08/03/2015" -app Foo -scan /path/to/Foo --out ~/DCreports/FooFollowup/

If today happened to be August 4th, 2015, "yesterday" also would have worked. Also notice the usage of the --data parameter. This places the H2 database file directly in the folder alongside the .xml.gz files. This is critical, so that D-C doesn’t run against another version of the database, like the usual default in $CLI_LOCATION/data.