Table of contents

General use case: scanning a directory

osv-scanner -r /path/to/your/dir

The preceding command will find lockfiles, SBOMs, and git directories in your target directory and use them to determine the dependencies to check against the OSV database for any known vulnerabilities.

The recursive flag -r or --recursive will tell the scanner to search all subdirectories in addition to the specified directory. It can find additional lockfiles, dependencies, and vulnerabilities. If your project has deeply nested subdirectories, a recursive search may take a long time.

Git directories are searched for the latest commit hash. Searching for git commit hash is intended to work with projects that use git submodules or a similar mechanism where dependencies are checked out as real git repositories.

Ignored files

By default, OSV-Scanner will not scan files that are ignored by .gitignore files. All recursively scanned files are matched to a git repository (if it exists) and any matching .gitignore files within that repository are taken into account.

There is a known issue that the parser does not correctly respect repository boundaries.

The --no-ignore flag can be used to force the scanner to scan ignored files.

Specify SBOM

If you want to check for known vulnerabilities only in dependencies in your SBOM, you can use the following command:

osv-scanner --sbom=/path/to/your/sbom.spdx.json

SPDX and CycloneDX SBOMs using Package URLs are supported. The format is auto-detected based on the input file contents and the file name.

When scanning a directory, only SBOMs following the specification filename will be scanned. See the specs for SPDX Filenames and CycloneDX Filenames.

Specify Lockfile(s)

If you want to check for known vulnerabilities in specific lockfiles, you can use the following command:

osv-scanner --lockfile=/path/to/your/package-lock.json --lockfile=/path/to/another/Cargo.lock

It is possible to specify more than one lockfile at a time; you can also specify how to parse an arbitrary file:

osv-scanner --lockfile 'requirements.txt:/path/to/your/extra-requirements.txt'

The list of supported lockfile formats can be found here.

If the file you are scanning is located in a directory that has a colon in its name, you can prefix the path to just a colon to explicitly signal to the scanner that it should infer the parser based on the filename:

osv-scanner --lockfile ':/path/to/my:projects/package-lock.json'

Scanning a Debian based docker image packages


This tool will scrape the list of installed packages in a Debian image and query for vulnerabilities on them.

Currently only Debian based docker image scanning is supported.

Requires docker to be installed and the tool to have permission calling it.

This currently does not scan the filesystem of the Docker container, and has various other limitations. Follow this issue for updates on container scanning!


osv-scanner --docker image_name:latest

Running in a Docker Container

The simplest way to get the osv-scanner docker image is to pull from GitHub Container Registry:

docker pull

Once you have the image, you can test that it works by running:

docker run -it -h

Finally, to run it, mount the directory you want to scan to /src and pass the appropriate osv-scanner flags:

docker run -it -v ${PWD}:/src -L /src/go.mod

Saving to file

The --output flag can be used to save the scan results to a file instead of being printed on the stdout:

osv-scanner -L package-lock.json --output scan-results.txt

C/C++ scanning

OSV-Scanner supports C/C++ projects.

Because the C/C++ ecosystem does not have a centralized package manager, C/C++ dependencies tend to be bundled with the project’s source code. Dependencies are either submoduled or vendored. In either case, OSV-Scanner is able to find known vulnerabilities in your project dependencies.

OSV-Scanner’s C/C++ support is based on commit-level data. OSV’s commit-level data covers the majority of C/C++ vulnerabilities within the OSV database, but users should be aware that there may be vulnerabilities in their dependencies that may not be in the OSV database and therefore not included in OSV-Scanner results. Adding more commit-level data to the database is an ongoing project, follow #783 for more details.

Submoduled dependencies

Submoduled dependencies are included in the project’s source code and retain their Git histories. To scan a C/C++ project with submoduled dependencies:

  1. Navigate to the root folder of your project.
  2. Ensure that your submodules are up to date using git submodule update.
  3. Run scanner using osv-scanner -r ..

Vendored dependencies

Vendored dependencies have been directly copied into the project folder, but do not retain their Git histories. OSV-Scanner uses OSV’s determineversion API to estimate each dependency’s version (and associated Git commit). Vulnerabilities for the estimated version are returned. This process requires no additional work from the user. Run OSV-Scanner as you normally would.

Scanning with call analysis

Call stack analysis can be performed on some languages to check if the vulnerable code is actually being executed by your project. If the code is not being executed, these vulnerabilities will be marked as unexecuted.

To enable call analysis in all languages, call OSV-Scanner with the --call-analysis=all flag. By default, call analysis in Go is enabled, but you can disable it using the --no-call-analysis=go flag.

Call analysis in Go

OSV-Scanner uses the govulncheck library to analyze Go source code to identify called vulnerable functions.

Additional Dependencies

go compiler needs to be installed and available on PATH

Call analysis in Rust


Call analysis in Rust is still considered experimental.

OSV-Scanner compiles Rust source code and analyzes the output binary’s DWARF debug information to identify called vulnerable functions.

Additional Dependencies

Rust toolchain (including cargo) that can compile the source code being scanned needs to be installed and available on PATH.

The installed Rust toolchain must be capable of compiling every crate/target in the scanned code, for code with a lot of dependencies this will take a few minutes.


Current implementation has a few limitations:

  • Does not support dependencies on proc-macros (Tracked in #464)
  • Does not support any dependencies that are dynamically linked
  • Does not support dependencies that link external non-rust code


osv-scanner --call-analysis=rust --no-call-analysis=go ./my/project/path

Pre-commit integration

If you wish to install OSV-Scanner as a pre-commit plugin in your project, you may use the osv-scanner pre-commit hook. Use the args key in your .pre-commit-config.yaml to pass your command-line arguments as you would using OSV-Scanner in the command line.


  - repo:
    rev: # pass a Git tag or commit hash here
      - id: osv-scanner
        args: ["-r", "/path/to/your/dir"]