What is Plume?

Plume is a library which makes use of Soot to transform JVM bytecode into code property graphs. Given Java class files, the JVM bytecode is transformed into Soot's UnitGraph representation with call graphs constructed using either Class Hierarchy Analysis (CHA) or SPARK algorithms. This intermediate representation is then fleshed out further into the more comprehensive CPG representation using domain classes from the Semantic Code Property Graph project.

What makes Plume special is that it is designed to be graph database agnostic. At the time of writing, Plume can make use of 6 graph database storage back-ends where it then leverages OverflowDB as a cache when fetching results from the back-end. This is done by using a generic interface to interact with the data layer where all graph database specific queries are handled.

Plume's CPG extraction process.
An example of some of the functions available on the driver interface and the kinds of graph databases supported by Plume.

One can then leverage the various back-end options for remote, clustered, or embedded processing or even as a scalable storage solution for industrial sized CPGs in memory-constrained environments.

Plume also supports serializing the resulting OverflowDB graphs to GraphML or GraphSON after-the-fact for visualization purposes.

An OverflowDB result exported as GraphML and visualized using Cytoscape.

How Plume Has Integrated with Joern

Plume leverages the same domain classes and code property graph schema that Joern does while also supporting OverflowDB as the storage back-end. This allows Joern to generate code property graphs using Plume and picking up where it left off by importing the resulting OverflowDB and continuing by doing further passes or analysis.

One can already start projecting CPGs from JAR files, for example, with the code importCode("/path/to/jar") command on the Joern shell. This will magically kick off Plume. What also works is using the CLI command ./joern-parse --language java /path/to/jar followed by importCpg on the Joern shell.

Plume can also work as a standalone CPG generator but it does not support any analysis.


For more details on how to leverage Plume for JVM bytecode analysis, have a look at the documentation for Plume and Joern.