Open source coding dominates software development. Putting it simply, open source coding is code that is free for potential modifications and distribution. Initially, open source coding was made with collaboration in mind, making it easy for developers to merge two ideas into one success. Any software product using open source coding uses a decentralized model of software development containing permissions for use.
But what are the dangers? Businesses, in particular, have multiple cyber vulnerabilities stemming from the many software systems they rely on to power their business – open source supply chain software being the perfect example. Keep reading to explore the dangers that open source coding presents.
The Origin Of Open Source Coding
Open source coding has come a long way — from the days of simple open source coding to SaaS — and has rapidly become the top dog in software creation. The early masters of open source coding, although thought to be inferior at the time, were Oracle and Microsoft that began a sort of renting scheme for their software.
Initially, businesses weren’t interested because of the legal dramas of licensing and copywriting that comes with open-source doing. Still, the efforts of Oracle and Microsoft led top-level developers to raise an eyebrow and began collaborating to develop revolutionary pieces of software that used a governance model to improve and enhance it. Then the software development world began to listen.
Developments such as MySQL dominated Oracle’s original attempts, and Linux became the second-best operating system – although, it never quite matched the popularity of Windows. Now, you’ll find that from a business perspective, almost 90% of coding lines are written by in-house employees of said business.
The Backend Dangers Lurking In The Shadows
You can argue that, whether the software uses open or closed source coding, there will always be apparent dangers. On average, there are 65,000 cyber-attack attempts per day, be it through phishing emails, weak passwords, or vulnerabilities in open-source coding. Below are some of the most prevalent risks of open source coding.
Lack Of Security
The lack of security is perhaps the most ingrained risk that open source coding seems to be stuck with – and always will be. Open source coding is shared with multiple people across multiple applications. Cyber attackers follow the open source community very closely to check for messages about coding vulnerabilities – a problem discussed further along.
The problem is, once a vulnerability is located and publicized, there is a race to find a fix and an even bigger race for businesses to locate the updated coding version or patch that addresses the security risk. That’s why it’s so important that companies integrate vulnerability management tools such as static application security testing to locate and rectify vulnerabilities.
Everyone Can Learn About Vulnerabilities
As soon as an open source coding vulnerability is identified, the whole world knows about it. Two huge organizations track coding vulnerabilities – the Open Web Application Security Project and the National Vulnerability Database. Anyone can sign up to notifications from either, including hackers.
The Forrester report in 2019 concluded that 42% of attacks happened through the exploitation of software vulnerability, and it’s no surprise considering information on said vulnerabilities is such public knowledge. Combine this with the fact that most open source coding is spread across multiple applications, and you have a recipe for disaster..
How To Defend Against The Dangers
There will always be a prevalent security risk associated with open source coding. Still, there are ways to defend against the dangers. One we previously discussed, vulnerability management tools, is an excellent defense system against the risks of open source coding. These tools provided by specialist software security companies can track the various open source components and the entirety of the dependencies and track any updates from open source communities.
Realistically, vulnerability checks should happen once per quarter. They’re the best way to defend and mitigate the risks. Another top tip is to utilize tried, tested, and trusted software applications. Small businesses are the worst for this. It’s tempting to purchase cheap software that gets the job done. It’s better to invest in high-end and trusted security applications.
Open source coding software applications dominate the market and always will. They’re so readily available, usually at an affordable price, and easily adaptable. Even though there are several risks, if mitigated and managed properly, open source coded software is typically the better option.