The Update Framework

A framework for securing software update systems

Timeline

2010: Improving upon the Thandy software updater for the Tor private browser, Justin Samuel and Justin Cappos collaborate to design and publish an academic research paper on The Update Framework (TUF).

2011: TUF Project moves to New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering (later NYU Tandon School of Engineering) when Justin Cappos accepts a post as an assistant professor at the Brooklyn, NY, school.

2013: Justin Cappos, Trishank Kuppusamy, and Vladimir Diaz begin research into adapting and improving TUF for Python, Ruby, and other environments used for cloud computing.

2013: PEP 458, the first of two Python Enhancement Proposals dealing with TUF is published. “Surviving a Compromise of PyPI” details the integration of TUF into the Python package manager.

2014: Flynn becomes the first tech organization to adopt TUF when it independently implements the program in its Go programming language.

2014: PEP 480, a maximum security version of PEP 458, is published.

2015: Docker launches Notary, an implementation of TUF used to publish and manage trusted collections of content. It also launches Docker Content Trust, which uses Notary to sign and verify container images.

2016: Diplomat: Using Delegations to Protect Community Repositories is presented at NSDI 2016. The subject of the paper, Diplomat, is the first of several TUF adaptations developed to address a specific identified problem in practice. In this case, the problem was the need for faster registration of new projects on community repositories without sacrificing security. It also introduced the concept of delegation of trust.

2016: A consortium including NYU Tandon (Cappos, Kuppusamy, Diaz, Awwad), the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), and the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI), begin developing Uptane, another evolution of TUF designed to protect updates for vehicles from being easily compromised by rogue nation-state attackers.

2016: Uptane: Securing Software Updates for Automobiles is presented at escar 16.

2017: Uptane is officially introduced at press events in Ann Arbor, MI, and Brooklyn, NY.

2017: Mercury: Bandwidth-Effective Prevention of Rollback Attacks Against Community Repositories is presented at USENIX ATC 2017. Mercury is another TUF adaptation, and was developed to protect against rollback attacks on community repositories at a reasonable bandwidth cost.

2017: Uptane is named one of the year’s most important innovations in security by Popular Science.

2017: The Linux Foundation announces at Open Source Summit Europe that it was adding TUF as the 14th hosted project for its Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

2018: Airbiquity receives a BIG Award for Business in the 2017 New Product of the Year Award category for its OTAmatic over-the-air software and data management solution, which incorporates Uptane to secure its software updates.