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Security Transparency Consortium Announces Activity Vision for Improving and Utilizing Security Transparency

- Promoting comprehensive cybersecurity capabilities in the supply chain using SBOMs -

Tokyo – February 16, 2024 – NTT Corporation (NTT) and NEC Corporation (NEC) launched the "Security Transparency Consortium" in September 2023, aiming to reduce supply chain security risks. In addition to ALAXALA Networks Corporation, NTT DATA Group Corporation, FFRI Security, Inc., Cisco Systems G.K., Tokyo Electron Ltd., Hitachi, Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, which have participated in the consortium since its inception, NRI Secure Technologies, Ltd. and Tokyo Electron Ltd. are now also participating. As a result of recent consortium activities, it has summarized the problems faced by the "user side" when using visualization data provided by the creators of products, systems, services, etc., and announced the consortium’s activity policy for solving these problems as its activity vision.

1. Background

Supply chain security risks, such as when products, systems, services, etc. are subject to security breaches through the supply chain, require responses from the entire global supply chain, including the suppliers of each component. Under such circumstances, countries around the world are increasingly requiring each business entity in the supply chain to create and provide "visualization data" on software configurations based on the software bill of materials (SBOM) format, a standard data format for listing the software components included in a product.

As this movement increases focus on the perspective of creators of visualization data, it can lead to too much emphasis on dealing with "creator side" issues, such as the costs associated with generating visualization data. As a result, attention may shift to creating visualized data within a realistic range, and there is a risk that the benefits that visualized data were originally intended to bring may be lost. However, if it is possible to find the data content conditions (*1) that must be satisfied in order to use visualization data effectively, for example, by conducting studies from the perspective of the user, it will be easier for the creator to avoid generating unnecessary data when generating visualization data, and this will bring about other benefits.

In order to truly solve problems like this, it is essential to address issues from the perspective of the user in particular, in addition to cooperation between various businesses on the creator and user sides of the supply chain.

2. Outline of the activity vision

The consortium aims to enhance security transparency throughout the supply chain by utilizing SBOM and other visualization data, and to drastically reduce supply chain security risks related to products, systems, services, etc. While efforts to reduce costs and solve other issues on the creator side of visualization data are progressing, consortium activities in coordination with users of visualized data are expected to lead to a positive cycle of greater demand for the creation and provision of visualization data.

The consortium has identified a series of issues that are being faced by users when utilizing visualization data. As part of addressing these issues, the consortium has set out a series of policies and activities in order to achieve associated goals on its website (*2).

  • (1)
    Lack of social penetration and recognition
    Inability to understand the value of visualization data in concrete terms, therefore lacking awareness of how to use it.
  • (2)
    Insufficient format data
    In order to handle visualization data in a uniform manner, it is necessary to establish usage policies, etc.
  • (3)
    Lack of technology and tools
    Automation is necessary to handle large amounts of visualization data.
  • (4)
    Burden of utilization costs
    To respond to changes in operations brought about by the introduction of visualization data, it is necessary to efficiently educate personnel and familiarize them with related tools.
  • (5)
    Continuous use
    It is necessary to continuously obtain the correct visualization data when updating software, etc.
  • (6)
    Coordination in the supply chain
    A mechanism of mutual sharing between creators and users in a multi-stage supply chain is necessary.
  • (7)
    Impact of visualization data
    As security transparency increases due to the penetration of visualization data, it becomes necessary to deal with events that were previously invisible and could not be dealt with.
  • (8)
    As the use of visualization data is not included in conventional business, it is necessary to revise the business structure.

This will serve as a starting point for discussions to create common understanding of the issues faced by many businesses that have begun or are considering the use of SBOM and other services, and to resolve these issues in a coordinated manner.

3. Outlook

Through this consortium and concerted efforts across various businesses, countermeasures will be co-created for challenges in the utilization of visualization data, and they will be published on the consortium’s website (*3) as "Knowledge Base for the Utilization of Visualization Data" (provisional title).

4. Participating companies (as of February 16, 2024)

The following companies are participating in the consortium. NTT and NEC are overseeing the secretariat. Additional participants are being recruited on the consortium’s website.

ALAXALA Networks Corporation
NRI Secure Technologies, Inc.
NTT DATA Group Corporation
FFRI Security, Inc.
Cisco Systems G.K.
Tokyo Electron Ltd.
NEC Corporation
NTT Corporation4
Hitachi, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

5. Endorsement

Satoshi Iizuka, Cybersecurity Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

"In July 2023, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry formulated a manual that outlines the benefits of introducing SBOMs and points to recognize when implementing SBOMs.
To realize the effects of the introduction of SBOMs, such as shortening the initialization period for dealing with software vulnerabilities and reducing management costs, it is important to consider not only the creator but also the user perspective of SBOMs. We expect that this consortium will promote the utilization of SBOMs by companies and lead to the improvement of cybersecurity capabilities in Japanese industry."


  • (*1)
    Conditions such as assortment, format, and value of data items to be included in SBOM and other visualization data are defined from the perspective of the user's application, such as security operations
  • (*2)
    Security Transparency Consortium Website
    new window
  • (*3)
    Through the participation of NTT Corporation, the following NTT Group companies will also cooperate with the consortium
    NTT Corporation
    NTT Communications Corporation
    NTT Advanced Technology Corporation
    NTT TechnoCross Corporation

About NTT
NTT contributes to a sustainable society through the power of innovation. We are a leading global technology company providing services to consumers and business as a mobile operator, infrastructure, networks, applications, and consulting provider. Our offerings include digital business consulting, managed application services, workplace and cloud solutions, data center and edge computing, all supported by our deep global industry expertise. We are over $97B in revenue and 330,000 employees, with $3.6B in annual R&D investments. Our operations span across 80+ countries and regions, allowing us to serve clients in over 190 of them. We serve over 75% of Fortune Global 100 companies, thousands of other enterprise and government clients and millions of consumers.

About NEC Corporation
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