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The Security Risks Associated With Open Source Software

In this article we will discuss The Security Risks Associated With Open Source Software. Regardless of whether it's Linux or Tensorflow, the open source community has a tremendous impact on introducing cutting-edge technologies to the general public. For instance, once TensorFlow was made available to the public in 2015, machine learning quickly rose in popularity. The open source software, according to Microsoft, has several benefits, including:

  • Developing software is significantly faster and easier due to ready-made components.
  • Instead of dozens of engineers working on the same problems several times in silos, a focused effort will produce better results because of the dedication of multiple developers.

On the other hand, though, open source has a cost. While open source projects are unavoidably dependent on the cooperation of third parties/developers, they are vulnerable to security breaches because of this. What happens when open source initiatives are incorporated into larger undertakings (like self-driving cars) is that the results can't be reversed. Google has found that, based on their research, Kubernetes (an open source container orchestration solution) requires around 1,000 different packages.

It is possible that open source applications have more dependencies than their proprietary counterparts. This software is made up of open-source components that lack a central authority that monitors and ensures quality and maintenance. A single copy of source code can be made and duplicated. Attackers can pose as project maintainers and infiltrate projects with malware. It is unlikely that open source project contributors will do security checks on the project, making the use of open source in products more risky.

Although open source projects can, like all software, have security issues, those issues usually show themselves as vulnerabilities in the product later on.
most up-to-date strategies

In April of this year, Google's security team made the "Know, Prevent, Fix" framework proposal and suggested that the software industry place greater emphasis on open source transparency and agreement. To help open source projects stay together, here are a few practices:

Best Practices for Open Source projects

Finding a hole

When it comes to documenting vulnerabilities, gathering all accessible data sources is imperative. In order to identify the susceptible systems, you should know the version number. This can also help with finding out if a given bug has been fixed and is currently being updated.

Stay Updated

Even if a vulnerability is resolved and a new release is issued, there is likely still widespread risk if users have not yet upgraded to a safer version. Because of this lag, the attackers can penetrate the defences and exploit the vulnerability. Open source components, especially those that offer security fixes, must be kept up to date to help protect the project. Nonetheless, experts concur that upgrading is significantly more difficult than it appears. In certain cases, an upgrade can be stopped owing to versioning. Since it is tougher to get the people above and below the package to update their dependencies, updating a package deep in the chain of dependents is difficult.

Be careful about dependencies.

Vulnerabilities are most frequently found in dependencies. Removing the dependency containing the vulnerability would be appropriate to consider. It will help that person, but it will not benefit the community. It is not safe unless every link in the chain of interdependence is repaired. Google made it clear that a strong framework of industry and infrastructure standards is very essential in order to keep track of vulnerabilities, comprehend their effects, and deal with their remedies. For each link, the below-linked item must be included as a part of the link to avoid being vulnerable. To comply with this regulation, the upgrades must be implemented from the bottom up, according to Google Security researchers.

Ensure that key systems remain intact

A project can consist of multiple components. It is common for many people to be critical of those around them. As the number of donors increases, so does the threat of cybercrime. For this project, experts advise the development team focus on identifying mission-critical software and use high-quality coding standards on only that subset of software.

Furthermore, issues such as anonymity should be handled when reviewing code. Given that pseudonyms are frequently used among developers, it is difficult to verify the identity of a given coder.

No freely or commercially available security technologies have been developed in the years since. In other words, such solutions automate the entire vulnerability assessment approach, at least with respect to vulnerability identification and correction. To use open source software safely, you should use some of these tools:

Tools For vulnerability identification and correction


With npm, the world's largest registry of open source software, developers have access to thousands of packages while both the public and private sectors utilise it to manage their own software development efforts.
Runs npm audit. [–json] [–production] [–audit-level=(low|moderate|high|critical)]

The npm audit fix command [–force|–package-lock-only|–dry-run|–production|–only=(dev|prod)]

Using the "npm audit" command as seen above, a default registry is contacted and requested for a report of vulnerabilities, and this description of dependencies is appended to the report. All vulnerabilities discovered will be assessed for their effect and proper remedy. In the event that the “fix” parameter is given, then the package tree will be treated. To learn more about npm-audit visit here.


Snyk is a commercial vulnerability detection program. It is Developer-first Cloud Native Application Security software. Whenever new vulnerabilities are detected, it warns you.

WhiteSource Bolt

When a vulnerability is found in an open source component, you can submit it to the Atlassian Whitesource Bolt project and receive assistance from its community of participants. WhiteSource is available to Visual Studio subscribers via Microsoft's subscriptions.

Google’s Rankings

For open source projects, Scorecards is an automated security tool that gives a “risk score.” On Google's “Know, Prevent, Fix” framework, Scorecard is created. The Scorecards project has gone from evaluating security criteria for thousands of open source projects to vetting security criteria for over 50,000 open source projects to date. In cooperation with the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF), this feature was implemented. The OpenSSF is a collaborative cross-industry movement aimed at security tooling, vulnerability disclosures, and other issues. Google and Microsoft have teamed up to develop the OpenSSF in order to make open source software safer to use.

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