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“Open-source software can improve your products for everyone and solve your problems.”
Open-source software can help organizations with problem solving and improve their products for everyone, but it may also introduce threats. For a long time, it was assumed by the software community that open source software was generally secure due to its transparency and the assumption that “many eye” were watching to detect and resolve problems. The thing is, some projects do have many eyes on them while others have few or none at all.
Open-source has transformed the software development industry. The word “open-source” means that the software is released under a license that allows anyone to use it. The code is also available with that software. But there are certain risks included in this process.
To understand these risks and how to mitigate them throughout the development life cycle, we have arranged a podcast with Santosh Yadav to discuss open-source software. He is a Google Development Expert and an open-source contributor. This blog is all about open-source software and its security.
In today’s world, most companies are pushing more towards open source. More and more companies are actually launching their products as a public model where everyone can contribute, and then they have a support model where they are selling and companies can buy subscriptions.
How to Mitigate the Risks Of Open Source Software?
Below is an all-inclusive list of exercises that can reduce risk when using open source software. This starting point can help improve your overall security posture.
Always consider choosing open-source software which is best for the long term. If another open source package exists that is like the one you are assessing and is gaining traction in the industry, It is obviously not possible to predict the future, but you have to select projects that have a good chance of long-term maintenance. Deferred or abandoned software raises the risk of security vulnerabilities not being fixed.
Check how frequently and quickly fixes should be done
It is a problem when fixes are too slow, as receiving fixes too frequently can also increase the risk. You should think about the projected number of fixes in terms of your internal security requirements. The project may not be at the level of your required maturity if the community delivers fixes faster than you can handle them. Frequent releases and security fixes may require more frequent security scanning if you plan to perform security scanning or testing against the open source package.
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Research the community’s security as well as service policies for reporting and fixing threats
A website for the particular project should provide answers to the below mentioned questions:
- What is their process for reporting threats?
- Do they have a separate timeline as well as a process for security fixes?
- How many back-level releases are supported for security fixes?
- Are security scans performed by them?
Understand that omission of an answer is still an answer. For instance, if you are not able to see a separate timeline for security fixes, there may not be one. Even if an open source project has policies in place for reporting security threats, are those threats getting addressed? It’s one thing to find them and another to fix them.
Take up threat modeling
You should create a threat model on the basis of documentation or code available to you, even though you did not write the code. Understand that the threat model helps you with a list of questions to assess the application or system’s security. It also helps you to consider the threats relevant to your environment. If you are not able to answer any of those questions, it means you don’t really know the security posture of the open source software you want to use.
Check your build
Search the logic of the build to check that the open source packages are downloaded from somewhere. If so, from where if you are in the process of rebuilding open source code on your system. Consider configuring your build to use a local repository that you explicitly populate.
Benefits Of Open-Source Software
The most important benefit of open-source software is that it is usually free. Getting the high-quality software for free allows you to spend your time and money on other things. You may devote more time to attempting to address the difficulties of the company. It is tempting for most organizations as it is cost-effective.
It is transparent. Anyone can go to the website and see the source code for an open-source piece of software. That implies you don’t have to be concerned about security as many others have already looked into it and vulnerabilities are resolved.
You can easily and seamlessly integrate open-source software as compared to other commercial software as you have access to the source code. When using commercial software, you have to contact the developer and request that an integration be created, which can be avoided with open-source software.
The ever increasing number of viewers looking at open-source software solutions makes them superior as compared to their alternatives. This means that the open-source software has fewer flaws and security threats, as well as the finest improvements are included in the software’s final version.
Availability of Source Code
You have access to the entire software with the help of open-source. You can easily get the source code and build your own software. You can even change it to meet your own needs or requirements.
We are living in a digital world where the importance of digital infrastructure in our lives is necessary. It’s time to start thinking of it in the same way we do our physical infrastructure. Open source software is the connective tissue for much of the online world.
There is mounting pressure on companies to figure out the problem of security in open-source software. To help you with this, Sennovate’s experts are here!
Watch our full podcast with Santosh Yadav by clicking here, where we dive deep into Open-source software, its security, problems, and much more.
Hope this blog helps you to understand how to Architect an IAM solution for your startups and the benefits of IAM solution. Creating an effective IAM program goes beyond simply monitoring network access and updating users’ accounts. Sennovate is partner with various IAM solutions like Gluu, Forgerock, and others. Is your company ready to build an identity and access management architecture? Sennovate’s experts are here to help you.
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