CVE plugin overview

Rudder CVE plugin allows assessing security vulnerabilities in packages installed on managed nodes.

After installation, a new menu entry called "Vulnerabilities" in the "Security Management" section gives access to the main plugin interface.

It provides several views, by nodes or by CVE.

The view by nodes provides, for each node, a summary of identified vulnerabilities:

node details main

And a list of CVE and impacted packages:

node details cve list

The view by CVE provides information about the CVE and status by node:

cve details node list

There are several filter options that you can explore and most importantly see in details each CVE.

CVEs' severity are classified descendant from critical, high, medium, low, info to unknown, each CVE identify vulnerable packages installed on a particular node and also has a given score and description.

There are actually 3 axes that impact identifying and classifying vulnerabilities: The CVEs archives used to do so depending on which year, The OS installed on the nodes and the packages that are installed on the nodes.

As we said above, you can click on each CVE and read more information about which nodes are impacted and packages too, in addition, you can search elsewhere about a specific CVE using its unique identifier.

cve details info
cve details packages

You can also switch the view to have a "By Node" view that allows you to check which CVE were detected for each node and see all vulnerable packages installed on this Node.

Installation, requirements and settings

This plugin uses an internet services provided by Rudder to work.

Your Rudder root server needs access by HTTPS to URL*

Compatible OSes

CVE plugin is compatible with the following systems:

  • Debian 8 to 10

  • RHEL 5 to 8

  • SLES 11 to 15

  • Ubuntu 14.04 to 20.04

  • Amazon Linux

  • Oracle Linux 5 to 7

And in general, any version of previous systems that is still actively maintained by their vendor is compatible with our CVE plugin ( OVAL source available and/or active security tracker for this version)

Proxy configuration

If your Rudder Server can access internet only through a proxy, you should define how to access your proxy in the configuration file of the rudder package command (/opt/rudder/etc/rudder-pkg/rudder-pkg.conf). You will have to add the proxy parameters (proxy_url, proxy_user, proxy_password), resulting in a file as follows:

url =
username = <your_plugin_download_username>
password = <your_plugin_download_password>
proxy_url = <your_proxy_address:port>
proxy_user = <your_optionnal_proxy_username>
proxy_password = <your_optionnal_proxy_password>

JVM memory sizing

The CVE plugin may require additional memory for its operation, at least 4GB.

If you see out of memory errors in the logs or the plugins fails to update CVE information, make sure the server system has enough available memory and increase the webapp memory limit in /etc/default/rudder-jetty:

# 2048MB is the low limit with the CVE plugin
# consider adding 2GB to previous value to make sure things run smoothly

Then restart the server with systemctl restart rudder-jetty.

Permissions provided for custom-roles

The CVE plugin comes with its own atomic permissions that you can be used with custom roles from user-management plugin.

These permissions are:

  • cve_read: that permission allows a user to access to vulnerability assessment and get information regarding when check were done,

  • cve_write: that permission allows to start the interactive actions like start new check, update CVE base, etc.

Vulnerability assessment for Linux packages

A note about CVE

CVE system is a catalog or more like a database that contains all known vulnerabilities and exposures that can be identified in organizations' information systems. Each vulnerability has its own unique identifier under the form of CVE-AAAA-NNNN (AAAA is the year of publication and NNNN is an id number) and also presented by a brief description and other various information related to it.

This database can be used by organizations in different ways such as integrating and linking it with other tools (Which what CVE Plugin in Rudder offers) so they can be aware of security threats in their information systems and consequently improve them.

Plugin operation

Rudder use a package-based check for the discovery of vulnerabilities.

To find out which vulnerabilities affect your nodes, Rudder analyzes the list of all packages of a system and checks whether they are vulnerable or not by using a remote Rudder service. This service bases its analysis on Linux distribution channels of vulnerabilities information.

Outgoing data

Data sent to the Rudder CVE services are JSON payloads with only OS and package related information. There is no node-specific information (like hostnames, IPs, etc) going out of the Rudder root server. All package information are aggregated on all nodes to avoid knowing what nodes have what packages.

Exact information sent is:

  • OS related information (family (debian, etc), version (10), kernel version)

  • and a list of pair of (package name, package version).

Our API then answers with the list of vulnerabilities for each package, and Rudder root server locally does the processing to match-back nodes and their vulnerabilities.

Interactive check and CVE database update

The plugin has two sections that can be consulted via the "Actions" buttons to interactively update the CVE assessment or to make a CVE check on your nodes.

main action screen

  • Updating the CVE details means you load the CVE base, that are under /var/rudder/plugins/cve/files/ directory, by simply choosing which year(s) of the archives to download, you can also as specified, customize the download url in the Json configuration file on your system /var/rudder/plugins/cve/update_cve.json

Fetching CVE details can be a long task as there is a lot of data to process. The request can timeout, but Rudder will continue to get the data from the database, so don’t worry about it

Note than you can also load the CVE base manually by putting the Json archives under the /var/rudder/plugins/files/ directory.

configure cve info base

  • After initializing the database with the appropriate archives, you can perform the CVE check on all your Rudder nodes by running the check in the Check CVE menu

CVE analysis can take a while depending on the number of your nodes and the packages installed on them. And an error can occur due to request timeout, refresh the page and you will have your result available.

CVE analysis is also done everyday, so you don’t have to click on the button each time you need it.

configure cve check

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