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Offensive Security Tool: CVE Binary Tool by Intel


The CVE Binary Tool scans for a number of common, vulnerable open source components such as openssl, libpng, libxml2, and expat to let you know if a given directory or binary file includes common libraries with known vulnerabilities., known as CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures).

See our documentation and quickstart guide
Usage: cve-bin-tool <directory/file to scan>

You can also do python -m cve_bin_tool.cli which is useful if you’re trying the latest code from the cve-bin-tool github.

optional arguments:
  -e, --exclude         exclude path while scanning
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -V, --version         show program's version number and exit
  -u {now,daily,never,latest}, --update {now,daily,never,latest}
                        update schedule for NVD database (default: daily)
                        skips checking for a new version
  directory             directory to scan
  -i INPUT_FILE, --input-file INPUT_FILE
                        provide input filename
  -C CONFIG, --config CONFIG
                        provide config file

  -q, --quiet           suppress output
  -l {debug,info,warning,error,critical}, --log {debug,info,warning,error,critical}
                        log level (default: info)
  -o OUTPUT_FILE, --output-file OUTPUT_FILE
                        provide output filename (default: output to stdout)
  --html-theme HTML_THEME
                        provide custom theme directory for HTML Report
  -f {csv,json,console,html}, --format {csv,json,console,html}
                        update output format (default: console)
  -c CVSS, --cvss CVSS  minimum CVSS score (as integer in range 0 to 10) to
                        report (default: 0)
  -S {low,medium,high,critical}, --severity {low,medium,high,critical}
                        minimum CVE severity to report (default: low)

  -s SKIPS, --skips SKIPS
                        comma-separated list of checkers to disable
  -r RUNS, --runs RUNS  comma-separated list of checkers to enable

   -x, --extract        autoextract compressed files
   CVE Binary Tool autoextracts all compressed files by default now

Note that if the CVSS and Severity flags are both specified, the CVSS flag takes precedence.

--input-file extends the functionality of csv2cve for other formats like JSON. It also allows cve-bin-tool to specify triage data so you can group issues which may have been mitigated (through patches, configuration, or other methods not detectable by our version scanning method) or mark false positives. Triage data can be re-used and applied to multiple scans. You can provide either CSV or JSON file as input_file with vendor, product and version fields. You can also add optional fields like remarks, comments, cve_number, severity.

Note that you can use -i or --input-file option to produce list of CVEs found in given vendor, product and version fields (Usage: cve-bin-tool -i=test.csv) or supplement extra triage data like remarks, comments etc. while scanning directory so that output will reflect this triage data and you can save time of re-triaging (Usage: cve-bin-tool -i=test.csv /path/to/scan).

Note: For backward compatibility, we still support csv2cve command for producing CVEs from csv but we recommend using new --input-file command instead.

You can use --config option to provide configuration file for the tool. You can still override options specified in config file with command line arguments. See our sample config files in the test/config

The 0.3.1 release is intended to be the last release to officially support python 2.7; please switch to python 3.6+ for future releases and to use the development tree. You can check our CI configuration to see what versions of python we’re explicitly testing.

If you want to integrate cve-bin-tool as a part of your github action pipeline. You can checkout our example github action.

This readme is intended to be a quickstart guide for using the tool. If you require more information, there is also a user manual available.

How it works

This scanner looks at the strings found in binary files to see if they match certain vulnerable versions of the following libraries and tools:

Available checkers
avahi bash bind binutils busybox bzip2 cups
curl dovecot expat ffmpeg freeradius gcc gimp
gnutls glibc gstreamer haproxy hostapd icecast icu
irssi kerberos libarchive libdb libgcrypt libjpeg libnss
libtiff libvirt lighttpd mariadb memcached ncurses nessus
netpbm nginx node openafs openldap openssh openssl
openswan openvpn png polarssl_fedora postgresql python qt
radare2 rsyslog samba sqlite strongswan syslogng systemd
tcpdump varnish wireshark xerces xml2 zlib

All the checkers can be found in the checkers directory, as can the instructions on how to add a new checker. Support for new checkers can be requested via GitHub issues.


This scanner does not attempt to exploit issues or examine the code in greater detail; it only looks for library signatures and version numbers. As such, it cannot tell if someone has backported fixes to a vulnerable version, and it will not work if library or version information was intentionally obfuscated.

This tool is meant to be used as a quick-to-run, easily-automatable check in a non-malicious environment so that developers can be made aware of old libraries with security issues that have been compiled into their binaries.


To use the auto-extractor, you may need the following utilities depending on the type of file you need to extract. The utilities below are required to run the full test suite on Linux:

  • file
  • strings
  • tar
  • unzip
  • rpm2cpio
  • cpio
  • ar
  • cabextract

Most of these are installed by default on many Linux systems, but cabextract and rpm2cpio in particular might need to be installed.

On windows systems, you may need:

  • ar
  • 7z
  • Expand

Windows has ar and Expand installed in default, but 7z in particular might need to be installed. If you want to run our test-suite or scan a zstd compressed file, We recommend installing this 7-zip-zstd fork of 7zip. We are currently using 7z for extracting jar, apk, msi, exe and rpm files.

If you get an error about building libraries when you try to install from pip, you may need to install the Windows build tools. The Windows build tools are available for free from https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/visual-cpp-build-tools/

If you get an error while installing brotlipy on Windows, installing the compiler above should fix it.

Feedback & Contributions

Bugs and feature requests can be made via GitHub issues. Be aware that these issues are not private, so take care when providing output to make sure you are not disclosing security issues in other products.

Pull requests are also welcome via git.

The CVE Binary Tool uses the Black python code formatter and isort to keep coding style consistent; you may wish to have it installed to make pull requests easier. We’ve provided a pre-commit hook (in .pre-commit.config.yaml) so if you want to have the check run locally before you commit, you can install pre-commit and install the hook as follows from the main cve-bin-tool directory:

pip install pre-commit
pre-commit install

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