Nowadays, most companies use open source software. Even if they don’t use standalone open source applications, most applications use third-party and open-source libraries and components. And this third-party code brings significant benefits to the organization in terms of the speed and costs of development.
However, open source software also creates security risks for the organization. If these open source components contain exploitable vulnerabilities or malicious functionality, they can expose the organization’s applications to attack. As a result, open source security (OSS) is crucial to managing the risk that open source code poses to an organization’s application, data, and systems.
The reason that most organizations use open source software and open source components in their applications is that it provides various benefits, including the following:
Open source software has its benefits, but they come at a price. The use of open source code introduces significant security risks, including the following:
Open source software introduces significant security risks to an organization. However, these risks can be managed by implementing open source security best practices.
One of the most significant challenges in open source security is a lack of visibility into an organization’s use of open source code. Even if an organization has visibility into open source code directly integrated into applications, these dependencies may have their own dependencies that contain vulnerabilities and licensing issues. Software composition analysis (SCA) tools automatically analyze software and develop a software bill of materials (SBOM). This aids in achieving necessary visibility and identifying vulnerabilities and licensing issues.
A lack of visibility into license requirements of open source code can land an organization in legal trouble. Using components with highly permissive licenses may threaten an organization’s intellectual property or create the risk of lawsuits. With an SBOM from an SCA tool, an organization can identify the licenses associated with the open source code that it is using. Automated licensing management can help to ensure that an organization has visibility into licensing requirements and that open source code usage doesn’t create legal complications.
Open source code may contain unpatched vulnerabilities. If an organization integrates these vulnerable libraries into its applications, then these applications may be vulnerable to exploitation. Companies can manage the risk of vulnerable components by performing regular vulnerability scans during and after the development process. Static application security testing (SAST) solutions run on source code and can be used early in the secure software development lifecycle (SSDLC) and integrated into automated CI/CD pipelines. Dynamic application security testing (DAST) solutions require a running application but can identify vulnerabilities that SAST tools miss.
Software security often takes a backseat to release timelines. A failure to integrate security into the development process increases the risk of vulnerabilities and the cost of remediating them. Integrating open source security management into automated DevOps practices reduces the friction that they cause for developers. By making security easier and more convenient, they reduce the risk that vulnerabilities will be overlooked during the development process.
Check Point CloudGuard Spectral provides integrated and automated solutions to enhance the security of an organization’s software development and deployment processes. Check Point also offers a range of open-source tools to enhance developer security. Learn more about the potential benefits of Check Point Spectral to your organization with a free demo.