Bomber - Scans Software Bill Of Materials (SBOMs) For Security Vulnerabilities

bomber is an application that scans SBOMs for security vulnerabilities.


So you've asked a vendor for an Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) for one of their closed source products, and they provided one to you in a JSON file... now what?

The first thing you're going to want to do is see if any of the components listed inside the SBOM have security vulnerabilities, and what kind of licenses these components have. This will help you identify what kind of risk you will be taking on by using the product. Finding security vulnerabilities and license information for components identified in an SBOM is exactly what bomber is meant to do. bomber can read any JSON or XML based CycloneDX format, or a JSON SPDX or Syft formatted SBOM, and tell you pretty quickly if there are any vulnerabilities.

What SBOM formats are supported?

There are quite a few SBOM formats available today. bomber supports the following:


bomber supports multiple sources for vulnerability information. We call these providers. Currently, bomber uses OSV as the default provider, but you can also use the Sonatype OSS Index.

Please note that each provider supports different ecosystems, so if you're not seeing any vulnerabilities in one, try another. It is also important to understand that each provider may report different vulnerabilities. If in doubt, look at a few of them.

If bomber does not find any vulnerabilities, it doesn't mean that there aren't any. All it means is that the provider being used didn't detect any, or it doesn't support the ecosystem. Some providers have vulnerabilities that come back with no Severity information. In this case, the Severity will be listed as "UNDEFINED"

What is an ecosystem?

An ecosystem is simply the package manager, or type of package. Examples include rpm, npm, gems, etc. Each provider supports different ecosystems.


OSV is the default provider for bomber. It is an open, precise, and distributed approach to producing and consuming vulnerability information for open source.

You don't need to register for any service, get a password, or a token. Just use bomber without a provider flag and away you go like this:

bomber scan test.cyclonedx.json

Supported ecosystems

At this time, the OSV supports the following ecosystems:

  • Android
  • Debian
  • Go
  • Maven
  • NPM
  • NuGet
  • Packagist
  • PyPI
  • RubyGems

and others...

OSV Notes

The OSV provider is pretty slow right now when processing large SBOMs. At the time of this writing, their batch endpoint is not functioning, so bomber needs to call their API one package at a time.

Additionally, there are cases where OSV does not return a Severity, or a CVE/CWE. In these rare cases, bomber will output "UNSPECIFIED", and "UNDEFINED" respectively.

Sonatype OSS Index

In order to use bomber with the Sonatype OSS Index you need to get an account. Head over to the site, and create a free account, and make note of your username (this will be the email that you registered with).

Once you log in, you'll want to navigate to your settings and make note of your API token. Please don't share your token with anyone.

Supported ecosystems

At this time, the Sonatype OSS Index supports the following ecosystems:

  • Maven
  • NPM
  • Go
  • PyPi
  • Nuget
  • RubyGems
  • Cargo
  • CocoaPods
  • Composer
  • Conan
  • Conda
  • CRAN
  • RPM
  • Swift



You can use Homebrew to install bomber using the following:

brew tap devops-kung-fu/homebrew-tap
brew install devops-kung-fu/homebrew-tap/bomber

If you do not have Homebrew, you can still download the latest release (ex: bomber_0.1.0_darwin_all.tar.gz), extract the files from the archive, and use the bomber binary.

If you wish, you can move the bomber binary to your /usr/local/bin directory or anywhere on your path.


To install bomber, download the latest release for your platform and install locally. For example, install bomber on Ubuntu:

dpkg -i bomber_0.1.0_linux_arm64.deb

Using bomber

You can scan either an entire folder of SBOMs or an individual SBOM with bomber. bomber doesn't care if you have multiple formats in a single folder. It'll sort everything out for you.

Note that the default output for bomber is to STDOUT. Options to output in HTML or JSON are described later in this document.

Single SBOM scan

credentials (ossindex) bomber scan --provider=xxx --username=xxx --token=xxx spdx-sbom.json" dir="auto">
# Using OSV (the default provider) which does not require any credentials
bomber scan spdx.sbom.json

# Using a provider that requires credentials (ossindex)
bomber scan --provider=xxx --username=xxx --token=xxx spdx-sbom.json

If the provider finds vulnerabilities you'll see an output similar to the following:

If the provider doesn't return any vulnerabilities you'll see something like the following:

Entire folder scan

This is good for when you receive multiple SBOMs from a vendor for the same product. Or, maybe you want to find out what vulnerabilities you have in your entire organization. A folder scan will find all components, de-duplicate them, and then scan them for vulnerabilities.

# scan a folder of SBOMs (the following command will scan a folder in your current folder named "sboms")
bomber scan --username=xxx --token=xxx ./sboms

You'll see a similar result to what a Single SBOM scan will provide.

Output to HTML

If you would like a readable report generated with detailed vulnerability information, you can utilized the --output flag to save a report to an HTML file.

Example command:

bomber scan bad-bom.json --output=html

This will save a file in your current folder in the format "YYYY-MM-DD-HH-MM-SS-bomber-results.html". If you open this file in a web browser, you'll see output like the following:

Output to JSON

bomber can output vulnerability data in JSON format using the --output flag. The default output is to STDOUT. There is a ton of more information in the JSON output than what gets displayed in the terminal. You'll be able to see a package description and what it's purpose is, what the vulnerability name is, a summary of the vulnerability, and more.

Example command:

bomber scan bad-bom.json --output=json

Advanced stuff

If you wish, you can set two environment variables to store your credentials, and not have to type them on the command line. Check out the Environment Variables information later in this README.

Environment Variables

If you don't want to enter credentials all the time, you can add the following to your .bashrc or .bash_profile

export BOMBER_PROVIDER_USERNAME={{your OSS Index user name}}
export BOMBER_PROVIDER_TOKEN={{your OSS Index API Token}}

Messing around

If you want to kick the tires on bomber you'll find a selection of test SBOMs in the test folder.


  • It's pretty rare to see SBOMs with license information. Most of the time, the generators like Syft need a flag like --license. If you need license info, make sure you ask for it with the SBOM.
  • Hate to say it, but SPDX is wonky. If you don't get any results on an SPDX file, try using a CycloneDX file. In general you should always try to get CycloneDX SBOMs from your vendors.
  • OSV. It's great, but the API is also wonky. They have a batch endpoint that would make it a ton quicker to get information back, but it doesn't work. bomber needs to send one PURL at a time to get vulnerabilities back, so in a big SBOM it will take some time. We'll keep an eye on that.
  • OSV has another issue where the ecosystem doesn't always return vulnerabilities when you pass it to their API. We had to remove passing this to the API to get anything to return. They also don't echo back the ecosystem so we can't check to ensure that if we pass one ecosystem to it, that we are getting a vulnerability for the same one back.


If you would like to contribute to the development of bomber please refer to the file in this repository. Please read the file before contributing.

Software Bill of Materials

bomber uses Syft to generate a Software Bill of Materials every time a developer commits code to this repository (as long as Hookzis being used and is has been initialized in the working directory). More information for CycloneDX is available here.

The current CycloneDX SBOM for bomber is available here.


A big thank-you to our friends at Smashicons for the bomber logo.

Big kudos to our OSS homies at Sonatype for providing a wicked tool like the Sonatype OSS Index.

Bomber - Scans Software Bill Of Materials (SBOMs) For Security Vulnerabilities Bomber - Scans Software Bill Of Materials (SBOMs) For Security Vulnerabilities Reviewed by Zion3R on 8:30 AM Rating: 5