Significance Of Open Source Security

From Cyberlaw: Difficult Issues Winter 2010
Jump to navigation Jump to search

With most companies shifting to open source software, this has suddenly become the buzzword in today’s times. Major business operations can now be performed on open-source platforms with ease.

However, there are various open source security problems also. Surveys reveal that nearly 84 percent of company codebases contain open source vulnerabilities. So it is primarily vital for companies to implement solutions before shifting to this landscape.

In this article, let us explore more about open source security and why it matters so much.

Open-source security misconceptions

Companies often have misconceptions about open source security, like they detect and patch proprietary vulnerabilities in the same way as the open-source security vulnerabilities. However, both are quite different, and hence they should be addressed differently. It is seen that even experienced open source developers can potentially leave security holes in simple and complex software. Also, companies rush to adopt the open-source platform due to its benefits like free licensing, higher security level, and the growing number of enterprise security apps and platforms. But, they do not have the internal expertise to work or secure the given open-source software. This often includes the firms that have developed the software.

The openness of the software offers a lot in terms of customization. You can also tweak the source code to fit into the specific needs. However, remember that source code is open to others as well. So ensure that all the source code you include in your products are free from vulnerabilities. This will help avoid the exposure of critical data related to business and block any unauthorized access to the connected systems of the enterprise.

Protecting your business

When you have open-source code in your software, it is essential to consider the vulnerabilities. In these platforms, the vulnerabilities are widely available for public view and widely distributed too. As multiple organizations across a given country use popular components, the community publishes those vulnerabilities in a database. It helps the developers to easily understand the vulnerable components and work on the software accordingly. Once they know what is to be patched, they can build a better platform.

On the downside, it also gives hackers a detailed list of vulnerable components, which saves their time/effort of sifting through rigorous codes by themselves. They can now exploit the target range with the list and hope that some organizations would be too slow to keep up with the latest update of vulnerabilities. They wait to find out what is left unpatched. Hence, the list feeds them the vulnerabilities on the platter, and they can now exploit multiple targets at a time.

Open-source security mitigation

It is quite challenging to analyze the source code of complex software. The task is time-consuming too. In such cases, it would be wise to take professional advice that will identify the vulnerabilities at an early stage. Several solutions are capable of providing the means that can secure the components of open source. Small enterprises should try this, given all the security breaches due to the vulnerabilities present in the open-source software.

One can see the various security breach incidents that occur due to the flaws in open source servers. Apart from the misconfigurations and security holes, phishing and hacking techniques have also caused the data loss of several users. Even corporate giants with millions of user data were not able to properly secure it from getting compromised.

The Heartbleed Bug can perfectly define the importance of open source security and the application of tools that helps in finding security holes. The bug was used in OpenSSL and was left unnoticed for years. This enabled the malicious agents to steal vital information protected by SSL or TLS encryption- these are used for securing the internet.

Different solutions are available now that can help integrate CI servers and build tools to detect all the open-source components within the given environment. These tools provide real-time alerts in terms of vulnerabilities without the requirement of scanning codes. This system puts an end to false positives, and you can now generate detailed reports to simplify open source code management through various automated policies. The solution will be monitoring your inventory continuously, without any downtime between scans when there is a chance that the vulnerabilities would skip down into your products.


Thus, it can be concluded that open source platforms can be more secure than closed source ones. For that, you will need the right tools to monitor the software for vulnerabilities on a real-time basis. Remember that open source software is not secure by itself; you need to make additional efforts to secure them properly. Do not fall into the popular but false opinion that open source solutions will give you immediate security. Go for reliable tools that will help you take the right preventive measures on time.