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Application Security

10/6/2020
10:15 AM
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6 Best Practices for Using Open Source Software Safely

Open source software is critical yet potentially dangerous. Here are ways to minimize the risk.
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It's no longer a question of whether enterprise software is developed using open source code, but just how much open source code makes up each application. And as DevOps becomes the default development discipline for more organizations, the pressure to reach out and grab reusable modules and libraries is almost guaranteed to make open source code a greater percentage of enterprise software.

Even with commercial software, questions about third-party risk and supply chain security loom large. When those questions extend to open source software, they can become absolutely overwhelming.

Research bears that out. In reviewing enterprise codebases submitted for audit, Synopsis found 70% of the code was open source. While not in any way an indictment in and of itself, 73% of codebases they found had at least one licensing issue and 82% included 4-year-old code. Combined, the security and reliability of applications containing open source software becomes a legitimate concern.

As with so many facets of cybersecurity, attention to detail carries a great deal of weight when it comes to keeping open source containing projects safe and secure. What else do you need to know? Dark Reading combed the Internet and reviewed numerous conversations we've had in recent months to put together this collection of best practices. Let us know whether you have any of your own in the Comments section, below.

(Image: duncanandison VIA Adobe Stock)

 

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio
 

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Eloisetacos
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Eloisetacos,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/13/2020 | 6:03:00 AM
Attention to detail
Thank you for this interesting article. As you say, I agree with bringing his attention to detail carries a great deal of weight when it comes to keeping open source containing projects safe and secure.
linnovate
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linnovate,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/7/2020 | 6:32:04 AM
Additional safety suggestion
It is true, things can quickly get overwhelming in open-source. Ultimately it comes down to trusting the developers, open communication, and having a great teamwork ethic, working collaboratively together. The one thing I would add is knowing who the contributors are. 
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