Several months ago, the Eclipse Foundation approached the Eclipse Jetty project with the offer of a security audit. The effort was being supported through a collaboration with the Open Source Technology Improvement Fund (OSTIF), with the actual funding coming from the Alpha-Omega Project.

Upon reflection, this collaboration could not have come at a better time for the Jetty open-source project. Completing this security audit before the first release of Jetty 12 was serendipitous. While the collaboration results with Trail of Bits are just now being published, the work has primarily been completed for a couple of months. 

When we started this audit effort, Jetty 12 was quickly shaping up to be one of the most exciting releases we have ever worked on in the history of Jetty. Support for protocols like HTTP/3 further refined the internals of Jetty to be a modern, scalable network component. Coupling that with a refactoring of the internals to remove strict dependency on Servlet Request and Response objects, the core of Jetty became a more general server component with scalable and performant applications being able to be developed directly in Jetty without the strict requirement for Servlets. This ultimately allowed us to add a new Environment concept that supports multiple versions of the Servlet API on the same Jetty server simultaneously; mixing javax.servlet and jakarta.servlet on the same server allows for many exciting options for our users.

However, these changes and exciting new features mean that quite a bit has changed, and when many moving parts are evolving, there is always a risk of unwanted behaviors.

Our committers had low expectations of what this engagement would lead to, as our previous experience with various code analysis tooling often resulted in too many false positives.  Part of the prep work to start this review required us to draw an appropriate-sized box around the Jetty project code where we felt a review was most warranted. It should come as no surprise that much of this code is some of the more nuanced and complex with Jetty. So, throwing caution to the wind, we prepared and submitted the paperwork.

We could not have been more pleased with how the engagement proceeded from here. Trail of Bits was chosen as the company to perform the review, and it met and exceeded our expectations by far. Sitting down with their engineers, it was apparent they were excited to be working on an open-source project of Jetty’s maturity, and when their work was completed, they demonstrated a much more complete understanding of the reviewed code than the Jetty team expected.

Ultimately, we could not have been happier with how this effort was executed. The Eclipse Jetty project members are very thankful to the Eclipse Foundation, OSTIF, and Trail of Bits for making this collaboration a resounding success!

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