Dependency-Check is a utility that identifies project dependencies and checks if there are any known, publicly disclosed, vulnerabilities. Currently Java, .NET, Ruby, Node.js, and Python projects are supported; additionally, limited support for C/C++ projects is available for projects using CMake or autoconf. This tool can be part of a solution to the OWASP Top 10 2013 A9 - Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities.
The OWASP Top 10 2013 contains a new entry: A9 - Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities. Dependency-check can currently be used to scan applications (and their dependent libraries) to identify any known vulnerable components.
The problem with using known vulnerable components was described very well in a paper by Jeff Williams and Arshan Dabirsiaghi titled, "The Unfortunate Reality of Insecure Libraries" (registration required). The gist of the paper is that we as a development community include third party libraries in our applications that contain well known published vulnerabilities (such as those at the National Vulnerability Database).
Dependency-check has a command line interface, a Maven plugin, an Ant task, and a Jenkins plugin. The core engine contains a series of analyzers that inspect the project dependencies, collect pieces of information about the dependencies (referred to as evidence within the tool). The evidence is then used to identify the Common Platform Enumeration (CPE) for the given dependency. If a CPE is identified, a listing of associated Common Vulnerability and Exposure (CVE) entries are listed in a report.
Dependency-check automatically updates itself using the NVD Data Feeds hosted by NIST. IMPORTANT NOTE: The initial download of the data may take ten minutes or more, if you run the tool at least once every seven days only a small XML file needs to be downloaded to keep the local copy of the data current.