Threats to today's connected devices and embedded systems continue to evolve, becoming more pervasive and increasingly threatening our software supply chains. We've never needed comprehensive security solutions more than we do right now. 

Enter binary analysis, a critical yet also sometimes under-appreciated component of software supply chain security.

In this blog post, we'll delve into defining binary analysis, why it's important to software supply chain security, and the critical role its plays in constructing comprehensive Software Bills of Materials (SBOMs).

What is Binary Analysis?

Binary analysis examines the binary files of software—those 1s and 0s that actually execute on a computer or device—and identifies vulnerabilities, dependencies, and potential compliance issues. Binary analysis can do this without access to the underlying source code.

Not needing access to the source code is important in analyzing the security of your software supply chain because it allows for the scrutiny of third-party components and proprietary software when you don't have the source code.

When you can analyze compiled code, you can uncover hidden vulnerabilities, malicious code, and other security risks that could have gone undetected, compromising the software supply chain.

Why Binary Analysis Matters in Software Supply Chain Security

Uncovering Hidden Vulnerabilities

Binary analysis uncovers vulnerabilities that might otherwise go undetected in the source code analysis many look to when they implement measures to improve their software supply chain security. Binary analysis can identify known vulnerabilities in compiled third-party components and detect unusual patterns or anomalies that suggest security risks.

Ensuring Compliance

Binary analysis can also help ensure that software complies with licensing and regulatory requirements. By analyzing binary files, organizations can detect the use of unauthorized or non-compliant software components, thereby mitigating legal and financial risks associated with software non-compliance.

Enhancing Transparency

Increasingly, software is composed of third-party and open-source components. Binary analysis provides the single-pane-of-glass transparency that enables organizations to understand exactly what is running within their software environment.

It's this transparency and continuous visibility that enhances their overall security posture.

Why Binary Analysis Matters in Generating SBOMs

Put simply, a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) is a comprehensive inventory of all the components used in building software. As software supply chain attacks have grown in size, frequency, and complexity, SBOMs have emerged as critical tools for managing software supply chain risk.

Here’s how binary analysis supports the generation of SBOMs:

Accurate Component Identification

Binary analysis makes it easier to accurately identify the components used in today's software product, including those for which we don't have or can't get the source code. In these cases, binary analysis helps ensure that the SBOM is comprehensive and reflects the true composition of the software.

Vulnerability Mapping

Binary analysis allows us to identify the specific versions of components within binary files, and map them to known vulnerabilities. We need this information to create a comprehensive SBOM that not only lists components but also highlights potential security risks.

Dependency Tracking

Binary analysis helps in tracking dependencies between components, which we need to construct SBOMs that accurately represents the software’s architecture. We need to understand these dependencies in order to assess the impact of potential vulnerabilities.


Binary analysis, a critical component of a modern software supply chain security program, helps uncover hidden vulnerabilities, ensure compliance, and enhance transparency.

This makes binary analysis indispensable in any cybersecurity program.

Binary analysis also helps construct accurate and comprehensive SBOMs that empower organizations to better manage risks associated with their software supply chain.

As software development continues to grow more complex, the role of binary analysis in safeguarding the integrity of the software supply chain will only grow in importance.