Hidden Dangers of Component Vulnerabilities. 5 Ways to improve your open source component security

Open source products and software are widely used in organizations and amongst programmers to collaborate, improve and prototype projects or software. Of 1,000+ applications, 96% of those scanned contained open-source components.

Open source components help developers with faster builds and info sharing to improve upon software. Open source code is something the average computer user would never see or think to deep dive into, but anyone that uses the Internet gains to benefit from open source software. Examples of this are Mozilla Firefox and Linux operating system.

Despite the many benefits to open source, for hackers, open source components are a gold mine. One vulnerability found in the code could lead to an attack of any of the hundreds of thousands of systems that use the component in their applications. Compared to propriety software, open source components are offered in a public forum for download and open for contributions from programmers. In the last three years, the ratio of organizations that suspect or know that they've been recently hit by a breach related to components has increased by 50%.With this in mind, it is critical that organizations make sure any open source components they use are updated and secure.

Here are five ways to ensure your open source components are secure:

  1. Enforce policies. Have approvals in place when working with developers. Make someone or a team in charge of security and approvals to prove the tool is secure. Have a policy in place to reduce your components vulnerability to attack.

  2. Create an inventory of your open-source components. Many organizations lack the technical controls for enforcing policies and tracking. Not knowing which open-source components your organization is using in its applications poses a major risk. Many old versions of open-source components stay within applications; if a vulnerability existed in an old version, chances are it will continue to be carried into new versions of an application. Find out from your development team which ones are being used and the last time they’ve been updated. You’ll want to track updates and licenses as one step to managing your security.

  3. Conduct security testing and code review. Once you’ve made a list of the open-source components used in your organization, you should test their security. A component that is secure in one application may not be secure when applied to a different application. Conducting a thorough test and reviewing the code is the only way to uncover if any issues exist.

  4. Know what licenses you have and uphold them. Licenses are often overlooked but are important to understand and maintain to avoid compliance risks for your business.

  5. Monitor, Monitor, Monitor! Security is an ongoing process; as long as your application is running, you need to do constant security checks.

We take security very seriously at Sure Systems. If you are concerned about the security of your open-components, contact us for an analysis and security check. We provide ongoing security monitoring, maintenance, and testing so that you have one less thing to worry about when it comes to your IT.