OWASP Dependency Vulnerability Scanning of Java JARs with Maven

One of the OWASP guidelines for secure applications is to not use components with known vulnerabilities. Unfortunately it can be a very difficult and time consuming task to keep up with these manually, automation can save you countless hours!

See https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Top_10_2013-A9-Using_Components_with_Known_Vulnerabilities.

NOTE: OWASP dependency scanner can be used in conjunction with the victims-enforcer.

Add to your projects pom.xml:


Each time you build, the plug-in will verify the assets against the list of known vulnerable libraries and report them in your output.

Vulnerability database is populated from: https://nvd.nist.gov.


  1. The example above is a very simple implementation, see the documentation for additional functions.
  2. The first use of the plug-in can take a long time as the vulnerability library must be installed locally before initial use.
  3. Similar functionality is available for Ant builds, if desired.


SHA-1 deprecation deadline

Have you recently noticed that some of the secure websites that you frequent might have stopped working when you attempt to access them with older browsers?

December 31, 2015 was the last day that older SHA-1 certificates were accepted by many browsers, notably they must use SHA-2 for the following, older versions will see a rather unfriendly error indicating that they cannot connect to the website.

  • Microsoft Edge
  • Firefox 37+
  • Chrome 39+

You might wonder why this has occurred… it primarily comes down to risk, there were known weaknesses in the SHA-1 algorithm that can now be exploited rather cheaply on readily available hardware.


Install WireShark on Ubuntu Linux

WireShark is an invaluable tool in recording and reviewing network traffic, it was previously known as Ethereal and is available for a variety of platforms.

Installation can sometimes be hard to remember as use by non-superusers requires additional configuration in Linux.

  1. Add the repository and install:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:wireshark-dev/stable

    sudo apt-get update

    sudo apt-get install wireshark

  2. During installation, the following will appear, chose "Yes" for most instances.

    Should non-super users be able to capture packets - Yes / No?

  3. If you need to change the value you selected, you can always re-run the following:

    dpkg-reconfigure wireshark-common

  4. Add the user to the wireshark group so that they can capture traffic:

    add user to group:
    sudo usermod -a -G wireshark username
    id username

  5. If you need additional information, you can always RTFM:

    sudo vi /usr/share/doc/wireshark-common/README.Debian.


RetireJS javascript libary vulnerability scanning with Maven

It’s important to note that even though your site is using a vulnerable library, that does not necessarily mean your site is vulnerable. It depends on whether and how your site exercises
the vulnerable code. That said, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

I identified this method of using the asset after reading the instructions for the Burp/Gulp scanner from h3xstream after the following section caught my eye:
https://github.com/h3xstream/burp-retire-js#maven-plugin-, it contained a small reference to Maven and even showed output but no configuration for use. A couple of attempts later I came up with the following:

Add to pom.xml:


After adding this to your pom.xml, the console output for each build will contain information regarding each vulnerable JavaScript library.

One small problem exists in the current version, use behind corporate firewalls can often be blocked, resulting in an error in the console and use of an older version of the vulnerability library to be used in scans.

Error example:

[ERROR] Exception while loading the repository (Most likely unable to access the internet) java.net.UnknownHostException: raw.githubusercontent.com

See the following for updates:

See https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Top_10_2013-A9-Using_Components_with_Known_Vulnerabilities.


Adding TestNG support to Eclipse

Most Java developers are familiar with the Eclipse IDE, even if they use alternatives.

One thing that’s bothered me for some time is that while JUnit is natively supported in Eclipse, TestNG is not. Thankfully, you can easily add this functionality.

  1. Help; Eclipse MarketPlace;
  2. Find – enter: testng
  3. Click on "TestNG for Eclipse" and install by stepping through the prompts.
  4. Restart of Eclipse is required to enable the new functionality.

Code signing of java applets – using Ant

To sign your java assets during the Ant build process, you can add the following to the build.xml to make use of the values we established in the keystore creation step.

Something as simple as the following could be used:

<signjar jar="example.jar" alias="selfsigned" keystore="selfsignkeys.store" keypass="123456" storepass="123456"/>

I generally prefer to add the following:

In build.properties – I externalize the variables…


Then, in build.xml – a ‘task’ for signing…

<property file="build.properties"></property>
... snip ...
<target name="signwar" depends="war">
<echo message="--- signing ---" />
<signjar jar="${build.dir}/${ant.project.name}.war" alias="${signing.alias}" keystore="${signing.keystore}" keypass="${signing.keypass}" storepass="${signing.storepass}" />


Code signing of java applets – using Maven

To sign your java assets during the maven build process, you can add the following to the pom.xml to make use of the values we established in the keystore creation step.

WARNING: for security and maintainability purposes, you should define the ‘configuration’ items in your local ‘settings.xml’ file instead of in the pom.xml as is done here for example only!

<alias>selfsigned</alias><!-- ${project.name} -->
<keystore>selfsignkeys.store</keystore><!-- NOTE: you can also specify an absolute path here -->


Code signing of java assets – creating a keystore

This is generally done via the command line, though I’ve seen it done with Ant in some cases. Here are the specifics… you’ll want to change the passwords and likely take a look at the algorithm (RSA for this example and validity (365 days in this example) for your actual use.

Background, in order to sign your java assets, you will first need to generate a key. You can later get this verified by a CA (Certifying Authority) as needed, this example is selfsigned.

NOTE: I’ll use these example values in the Maven and Ant signing code examples to follow.

keytool -genkey -keyalg RSA -alias selfsigned -keystore selfsignkeys.store -storepass 123456 -keypass 123456 -validity 365


Firefox 41+ extension signing

In the never-ending quest for browser security, Firefox has started implementing safeguards to only allow signed extensions. I found this out after upgrading to Firefox 41 as my installed version of “Deque FireEyes” stopped working. Thankfully, there is a workaround in Firefox 41, but it goes away in Firefox 42.

  • Firefox 40: warning only!
  • Firefox 41: workaround, via:

    xpinstall.signatures.required = false
  • Firefox 42: BLOCKED! unless signed


Ashley Madison data dump

This topic has been in the media ALOT lately, for the less technical individuals here’s a simple way to get at the information.

For (mostly) anonymous access to the ‘dark internet’…. it’s not as ominous and illegal as you might think, you can download a browser here:


If you don’t mind being (possibly) tracked by your IP Address, you can just download a Torrent client such as Transmission or µTorrent.

The torrent file can then be accessed here: