Open Source Vulnerabilities: The Threat To Businesses And How To Protect Against Them.
The use of open-source software has become an integral part of modern-day development. In addition to bringing in new ideas, efficiencies, and benefits, it has revolutionized the way software is developed and deployed.
In open-source software, the source code is distributed under a permissive license that allows anyone to use, modify, and redistribute it. It is important to recognize, however, that the same openness that makes it so popular can also pose a significant risk to businesses if vulnerabilities are not identified and patched as soon as possible.
In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at Open-Source vulnerabilities and their impact on businesses, and what steps businesses can take to protect themselves.
An open-source vulnerability is a security issue that exists in open-source software. The vulnerabilities are typically found in libraries, modules, and other components that are used in many different applications, can be introduced by developers, or can be inherent in the Open Source software itself.
There are a number of reasons why Open-Source vulnerabilities are so prevalent. To begin with, Open-Source software is typically developed by a large community of developers who contribute code to the project. Although this collaborative approach is one of the strengths of Open Source, it also means that vulnerabilities can be introduced unintentionally by developers who are unaware of the risks.
Additionally, open-source projects are often managed by volunteers who may lack the resources or expertise to identify and fix security vulnerabilities.
The impact of open-source vulnerabilities on businesses:
Open Source vulnerabilities can have a significant impact on businesses. If an Open Source vulnerability is exploited, it can allow attackers to gain unauthorized access to the system, steal sensitive data, or launch a cyberattack, resulting in financial losses, damage to the brand’s reputation, and legal ramifications.
In 2017, Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the United States, suffered a data breach that exposed the personal information of over 143 million consumers. The breach was caused by an unpatched vulnerability in Apache Struts, an Open Source software library used by Equifax. The company faced significant financial losses and was hit with numerous lawsuits, fines, and penalties.
What businesses can do to combat open source vulnerabilities:
Businesses must take a proactive approach to identifying and addressing security issues within their codebase in order to combat Open-Source vulnerabilities. The following steps can help businesses protect themselves:
1. Conduct regular code audits: In order to identify vulnerabilities in their codebases, businesses should conduct regular code audits. All Open-Source software used in the application should be reviewed as part of this process.
2. Stay Up-to-Date with Security Patches: Developers should stay up-to-date with security patches for Open Source software used in their applications. This means monitoring security advisories and patches released by the Open-Source community and promptly applying them.
3. Implement Security Controls: Businesses should implement security controls such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and access controls to prevent unauthorized access to their systems.
4. Monitor Code Repositories: Businesses should monitor code repositories for Open-Source software used in their application to ensure that any new vulnerabilities are identified and addressed promptly.
5. Educate Developers: Developers should be educated about the risks of Open-Source vulnerabilities and how to identify and address them. This should include training on secure coding practices, vulnerability assessment, and patch management.
The importance of securing talent to address open0source vulnerabilities:
It is imperative for businesses to secure talent that is capable of addressing Open Source vulnerabilities. Keeping up with the latest security trends and technologies is essential in today’s digital age, as cyber threats are constantly evolving.
Security professionals who specialize in Open-Source security can assist businesses in identifying and addressing vulnerabilities in their codebase, as well as implementing security controls and best practices to reduce the risk of future attacks.
In addition, businesses should invest in training and development programs to ensure that their existing employees possess the knowledge and skills necessary to address Open-Source vulnerabilities. Businesses can enhance their cybersecurity posture and protect themselves from cyber-attacks by securing talent that is able to deal with these threats.