Open source software enables better security for organizations large and small. It is the foundation of today’s society and can be found across modern application stacks, from operating systems to network functions. According to his 2022 Octoverse report on GitHub, it is estimated that about 90% of organizations use open source in some way.
Open source software can be examined by anyone, both attackers and defenders. However, this does not necessarily give the attacker an advantage. Rather, it offers defenders an opportunity to reduce the cost of defense, promote collaboration, and allow many “eyes” to work together to find vulnerabilities. Security has always been a top business priority, and open source and its collaborative nature have the power to drive new ways to protect against evolving security threats.
Prevention is better than cure
Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus famously said, “Prevention is better than cure,” and nowhere is this truer than in cybersecurity. This is where the speed and agility of open source come into play.
There is a power multiplier effect at work as more and more organizations use open source. When multiple large cybersecurity teams examine the code of commonly used open source software, they are more likely to anticipate and address issues. Instead of a single team looking for bugs and exploits, open source exposes this process to the world. Because open source code is public, anyone can find bugs that went unnoticed by developers.
A widely adopted and effective tool, open source threat intelligence helps businesses identify all risks, vulnerabilities, and growing threats to protect an organization’s valuable data assets. For companies that choose open source, this becomes a collaborative effort, involving multiple organizations and individuals in keeping security tight and up-to-date.
Alongside open source, companies should adopt additional best practice measures for secure software, such as code reviews, vulnerability scanning, system visibility, and attack surface understanding. On this basis, bug bounty programs have become a reality for large technology companies, rewarding and offering compensation to individuals who report security vulnerabilities and design flaws.
Increase security with third-party tools
According to a 2022 Linux Foundation report, organizations are optimistic about the security of open source software development, with an average of 77% believing that open source development security will improve by the end of 2023. Many companies believe that more intelligent security tools from vendors will enhance their security strategy.
On average, the organizations in the report used two to three security testing tools to identify vulnerabilities. Generally speaking, having more tools is advantageous because they all add value in different ways. Third-party tools offer scalability and automation possibilities. According to the report, SCA (Software Composition Analysis) tools have proven to be the most useful, highly automated tools that enable organizations to identify licensing issues and vulnerabilities across a portfolio of components and dependencies. will do so. road.
In parallel with security audits, more organizations are also increasing automation to reduce their attack surface. Automatically probing open source dependencies in apps provides businesses with valuable information and critical version control, and triggers alerts to identify policy violations. It then automatically monitors, alerts on, and blocks attacks in production environments, targeting vulnerabilities in open source components so your organization can respond quickly. You can use such tools to find vulnerabilities. In many cases, when vulnerable dependencies are downloaded, non-vulnerable versions are available.
Open source security development
This year saw action by governments and big tech companies to ensure the security of open source software. The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) has announced an initiative to improve the security of open source software. A point plan to strengthen the security of open source software.
This global interest in open source security will only grow in the coming year as organizations continue to face geopolitical risks and attacks on their supply chains. Developers should make efforts to thwart these attacks and increase cooperation among organizations to improve open source security.