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4 Ways to Make Open-Source Software Secure

May 22, 2024 - Guest Writer

Modern software development evolves rapidly; open-source software streamlines many tasks and brings the appealing benefit of being collaborative and adaptable. 

However, when things are so openly available, security challenges inevitably arise.

Open-source projects are a game changer for many small businesses, but as with any other software–they can be exploited. 

How To Bulletproof Your Open Software


The vulnerabilities of open-source software increase as the rate of users increases and 13% of threats detected remain unresolved

Ensuring the security of open-source software is tricky territory because it is so widely used, but there are four things you can put into effective to enhance your security

1. Audit, Audit, Audit!


Regular code audits enable you to identify vulnerabilities sooner rather than later, which is essential. Getting experienced developers and security experts to audit involves a comprehensive scrutinized analysis of the integrity of the open-source software used. 

When reviewing the source code, buffer overflows, injection attacks, and other potential security issues, such as improper error handling can be spotted. Regular assessment helps developers to keep one step ahead. However, keep in mind that there are multiple tactics to perform code audits and application testing. Conduct additional reviews to get a comprehensive picture.

The codebase can be examined with automated software assistance scanning regularly to a schedule, but manual reviews can provide a more in-depth picture. Manually assessing can help spot complex logic and potential attack vectors.

Statistics suggest that 84% of open-source code bases are vulnerable in one way or another. Regular auditing is one of the best ways to tackle potential security weaknesses proactively and foster transparency and build community trust.

2. Effectively Manage Your Dependencies


When you leverage open sources, you are accessing projects that rely on components developed by third parties. This accelerated development creates dependencies. Without proper upstream maintenance, security can quickly become a liability.

Security dependencies can be managed properly by regularly updating all imported libraries to ensure your projects have the latest security patches and bug fixes in place.

Dependency management tools like npm for JavaScript and pip for Python can include some information about vulnerabilities.

A periodic review of dependency necessity helps identify unused libraries that can be removed to reduce attack surfaces, enhancing overall open-source projects.

3. Establish the Best Coding Practices


Common security risks, such as proper error handling, validation, and authentication mechanisms, can be mitigated by establishing secure coding practices.

Secure frameworks and rigorously tested libraries create open-source software resilience.

Following established guideline recommendations such as O.W.A.S.P and implementing consistent static code analysis, both help fortify against potential exploitation.

It is also important to perform regular integrated security checks to test the system’s integrity.

4. Encourage and Spread Security Awareness from Within


Open-source projects must be built consciously, with security awareness. If everyone involved is aware of their responsibilities on an individual level, threats can be detected sooner. 

Responding swiftly is the only surefire way to lessen the damages. It is crucial that contributors prize security as highly as the next person. 

Providing guidelines and conducting security-focused workshops can be pivotal for the longevity of OS projects.

A transparent disclosure policy helps to highlight what is expected. It bolsters trust from within and gives them the steps of the process for reporting vulnerabilities. A stronger community fortified with trust is harder to break into, and contributors with malicious intent are easily spotted.

Encourage secure communication and transmission via the use of a trusted virtual private network such as Surfshark to enhance the security of remote collaboration among contributors, which can enhance overall security.

A knowledgeable, engaged community is a vital instrument when it comes to safeguarding code security and mitigating the risks of open-source software supply chains

When it comes to sorting out glitches in an app, a big deal is making sure everyone with the buggy version gets the updated one. Even if your team is lightning-fast at whipping up a bug-free version, it can take a long time for users to actually switch over. 

Having a system built into the app for delivering updates or using existing software delivery methods like those offered by operating systems, can really speed up the process.


Wrapping Up


Did you know that over 200,000 malicious attacks on OSS supply chains were reported in 2023? The collaborative nature and the trend toward AI integration will only open the software up for further exploitation. 

To help safeguard at every junction in the development lifecycle, you must adopt a multifaceted security measures approach. If not, open-source projects present a huge security risk for the entire community.

Fortunately, open-source projects can be protected with regular audits, dependency graph management, and savvy coding practices that build trust from the inside, and security posture can be elevated. 

Ultimately, a collaborative ecosystem must be created, one that is committed to transparency and community.


4 Proven Ways to Secure Open-Source Software
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4 Proven Ways to Secure Open-Source Software
4 fool-proof methods of securing your open source software; Audits and coding review- get the down-low on the best security practices.
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