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Impact of Large Language Models on Software Supply Chain Security

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, the rise of large language models (LLMs) like OpenAI's GPT series and Google's BERT represents a significant shift not just in how we interact with data, but also in how software is developed and maintained. 

These models, which power everything from conversational AI to sophisticated code-generation tools, are becoming integral to many business operations and development processes. However, their integration into the software development lifecycle brings new challenges and considerations for software supply chain security.

Large language models are trained on vast datasets to understand and generate human-like text. In the context of software development, tools based on LLMs can generate code, automate documentation, and even identify potential code optimizations. However, the reliance on these models introduces new vectors for vulnerabilities, particularly if the training data or the models themselves are compromised.

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Influence on Software Supply Chain

The integration of LLMs on software development creates a security impact  in several key ways:

  1. Automated Code Generation: Tools like GitHub Copilot suggest code snippets and entire functions based on the context provided by the developer’s existing code. While this accelerates development, it also risks inserting potentially vulnerable or malicious code snippets that have been learned from the model's training data. If not properly vetted, these snippets could introduce security flaws inadvertently.
  2. Dependency and Third-party Code: As development speeds up with LLM assistance, the use of open-source and third-party libraries and frameworks often increases to maintain pace with rapid deployment schedules. This can lead to less scrutiny of third-party dependencies, potentially increasing the risk of incorporating vulnerable components into the software.
  3. Data Leakage through Training Data: If an LLM is trained on proprietary or sensitive data, there's a risk that the model could inadvertently expose this data. For instance, a model trained on code from private repositories could suggest code snippets containing proprietary algorithms or secrets like API keys in other contexts.
  4. Manipulation and Model Poisoning: If adversaries gain access to the training pipeline of an LLM, they could manipulate the model to favor certain behaviors or to introduce security vulnerabilities indirectly through the suggestions it makes. Such attacks could be subtle and difficult to detect, making them a significant concern for supply chain security.

AI-assisted software development strongly pushes organizations towards more use of open source technologies, code and libraries. However, who guarantees the safety of these open source tools and projects?

Open Source (OSS) and Third Party Tools Safety

The integration of OSS also presents security challenges that can expose systems to risk. Advanced tooling, such as the correct usage of our,, and other sophisticated tools, are crucial for mitigating these risks effectively. This guide details technical methods to enhance the security of open source components in your software projects.

1. Vet the Project Thoroughly

  1. Check Project Maturity and Popularity:
    Start by evaluating the maturity and popularity of the project. A well-established project with a large community is typically more reliable. Popular projects usually have more contributors who can spot and fix security issues quickly. Tools like GitHub stars, fork counts, and the frequency of commits can indicate a project's health and activity levels. Codenotary’s Trustcenter/Guardian keeps track of the safety and reputation of OSS projects. See more here:
  2. Review Open Issues and Recent Activity:
    Examine the project’s issue tracker and pull requests. A backlog of unresolved issues, especially those tagged as security vulnerabilities, may indicate poor maintenance or slow response times. Regular and recent commits suggest active development, which is crucial for ongoing security updates. Here is really important because it analyzes an OSS repository and within seconds gives you a detailed report of vulnerabilities, risks, and overall safety assessment. In the screenshot below, you can see the assessment generated by for the popular openweb-ui framework:

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2. Assess Community and Maintainer Response

a. Community Engagement:
A vibrant community contributes to a project’s resilience. Check forums, mailing lists, and chat channels to gauge how active and responsive the community is. A supportive community can also be a great resource for solving potential issues you might face.

Again, Codenotary’s Trustcenter/Guardian helps you here by keeping track of the safety and reputation of OSS projects. See more here:

b. Maintainer Responsiveness:
Look at how quickly maintainers respond to questions, bug reports, and pull requests. Fast and thoughtful responses are good indicators of a well-maintained project. If possible, review the project’s governance model and see if there are clear guidelines on how decisions are made, especially regarding security issues. As before,  Codenotary’s Trustcenter/Guardian helps you here by keeping track of the safety and reputation of OSS projects. See more here:

3. Verify License Compatibility and Compliance

  1. Understand License Obligations:
    Each open source project comes with a specific license that dictates how you can use, modify, and distribute the software. Familiarize yourself with common licenses (e.g., MIT, GPL, Apache) and ensure that the project’s license fits your use case. Misunderstanding license obligations can lead to legal issues and compromise the OS project’s integrity.b. Use Tools for License Compliance:
    Tools like FOSSA or WhiteSource can automate the detection of license types and compliance issues within your open source dependencies. They help ensure that you do not inadvertently violate copyright terms.

    Here is an example:

    # Set up FOSSA
    curl -H 'Cache-Control: no-cache' | bash
    # Run FOSSA to analyze licenses and vulnerabilities
    fossa analyze

4. Code Quality and Security with SonarQube

SonarQube scans your codebase for security vulnerabilities, bugs, and code smells, improving both the quality and security of your code.

pipeline {agent any
  stages {
        stage('Code Quality and Security Scan') {
            steps {
                script {
                    // Define the scanner
                    def scannerHome = tool 'SonarQube Scanner 4.0'
                    // Run the scanner with the SonarQube environment
                    withSonarQubeEnv('My SonarQube Server') {
                        sh "${scannerHome}/bin/sonar-scanner"

This Jenkins pipeline setup automatically performs comprehensive code analysis, helping to identify and rectify security and quality issues early in the development cycle.

5. Implement Strong Version Control and Update Practices

a. Use Reliable Sources:
Always download open source software from official or well-recognized sources to avoid malicious modifications. Package managers that support cryptographic verification of packages provide an additional layer of security.

b. Stay Updated:
Keep your open-source components up to date. Subscribe to project newsletters, follow relevant forums, and use tools like Dependabot to automate dependency updates. Regular updates ensure that you benefit from the latest security patches and improvements.

6. Conduct Regular Security Audits

  1. Use Security Scanners:
    Employ tools like OWASP Dependency-Check, SonarQube, or Snyk to scan for vulnerabilities within your open-source libraries. These tools compare your project dependencies against known vulnerability databases and provide insights into potential security issues.


The security of open source software is paramount, and using advanced tools like, Codenotary’s Trustcenter and other solutions is essential for maintaining robust defenses against potential vulnerabilities. By implementing these tools into your development and security strategies, you can leverage the benefits of OSS while ensuring that security remains a top priority.