The Story Behind Anchore Toolbox

The Story Behind Anchore Toolbox

As tool builders, we interact daily with teams of developers, operators, and security professionals working to achieve efficient and highly automated software development processes.  Our goal with this initiative is to provide a technology-focused space for ourselves and the community to build and share a variety of open-source tools to provide data gathering, security, and other capabilities in a form specifically designed for inclusion in developer and developer infrastructure workflows.

This post will share the reasoning, objectives, future vision, and methods for joining and contributing to this new project from Anchore.

Why Anchore Toolbox?

Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed a significant effort in the industry to adopt highly automated, modern software delivery lifecycle (SDLC) management processes.  As container security and compliance technology providers, we often find ourselves deeply involved in security/compliance discussions with practitioners and the general design of new, automation-oriented developer infrastructure systems.  Development teams are looking to add or start with automated security and compliance data collection and controls directly into their SDLC processes. We believe there is an opportunity to translate many of the lessons learned along the way into small, granular tools specifically (and importantly!) designed to be used within a modern developer/CI/CD environment.  Toward this objective, we’ve adopted a UNIX-like philosophy for projects in the Toolbox.  Each specific tool is a stand-alone element with a particular purpose your team can combine with other tools to construct more comprehensive flows. This model lends itself to useful manual invocation. We also find it works well when integrating these types of operations into existing CI/CD platforms such as GitHub, GitLab, Atlassian BitBucket, Azure Pipelines, and CloudBees as they continue to add native security and compliance interfaces.

What’s Available Today?

We include two tools in Anchore Toolbox to start – Syft,  a software bill of materials generator, and Grype, a container image/code repository vulnerability scanner.  Syft and Grype are fast and efficient software analysis tools that come from our experience building technologies that provide deep container image analysis and security data.

To illustrate how we envision DevSecOps teams using these tools in practice, we’ve included a VS Code extension for Grype and a new version of the Anchore Scan GitHub action, based on Grype, that supplies container image security findings to GitHub’s recently launched code scanning feature set. 

Both Syft and Grype are light-weight command-line tools by design. We wrote them in Go, making them very straightforward additions to any developer/developer infrastructure workflow. There’s no need to install any language-specific environments or struggle with configurations to pass information in and out of a container instance.  To support interoperability with many SBOM, security, and compliance data stores, you can choose to generate results in human-readable, JSON, and CycloneDX format.

Future of Anchore Toolbox

We’re launching the Anchore Toolbox with what we believe are important and fundamental building block elements that by themselves fill in essential aspects of the modern SDLC story, but we’re just getting started.  We would love nothing more than to hear from anyone in the community who shares our enthusiasm for bringing the goals of security, compliance, and insight automation ever closer.  We look forward to continuing the discussion and working with you to improve our existing projects and to bring new tools into the Toolbox!

For more information – check out the following resources to start using Anchore Toolbox today.