Open-source software (OSS) can be an alternative that companies might consider. It generally makes use of publicly available source code, making it both versatile and economical. Although OSS can be useful, it can expose your organization to vulnerabilities and serious security threats.  

What Is Open Source? 

The development of open-source code is done through the collaborative involvement of software developers. The original authors license the code so anybody can examine it, alter it, and distribute new versions. Developers can generally adapt open-source code to build new stand-alone products or add new functions to current software.

Nowadays, open-source code is common, and you can be using numerous open-source products. While OSS is freely available to the public, anyone can edit the existing open-source code. 

The ease of use makes it simple to tailor to your business requirements. However, most businesses that use open-source software cannot manage it adequately.  

How Open-Source Software Affects Cybersecurity 

Risks associated with open-source software include excessive accessibility and a lack of verification and support. Security breaches can happen, and they can negatively impact your business operations if you’re not ready. If you’re planning on deploying or switching to open-source software, consider consulting a reliable provider of cybersecurity Toronto services to ensure you’re on the right path. 

Sadly, it can pose a cybersecurity threat. Here are several ways open-source software can jeopardize your business’s cybersecurity status. 

1. Vulnerabilities Are Widely Publicized

Contributors or organizations such as the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) and the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) can easily publicize open-source software vulnerabilities.

When you’re a community member for a specific project, you’ll get an early warning before it’s made public to groups like OWASP, NVD, and everyone else in the community.

If you neglect the task of maintaining the most recent versions or updating components, your business is at risk because cybercriminals frequently identify and exploit vulnerabilities.

2. Inadequate Security

OSS lacks legal responsibilities and community support to advise you on how to enforce any safeguards. In most cases, the developers in charge of software development are not security experts and may not fully understand how to implement best practices.

Although there are resources for open-source communities, you’re unlikely to find instructions on how to implement security features to protect against potential flaws.

Generally, open-source software typically includes or requires the involvement of third-party libraries retrieved from package managers without a thorough inspection. Remember that the black-box nature of these libraries makes identifying and patching any vulnerabilities difficult and time-consuming.

3. Poor Support And Verification

The majority of OSS lacks a dedicated support team. You cannot access critical security patches and updates that keep your business safe from cybersecurity breaches if none are available.

Once bad actors discover software vulnerabilities, they can put your system at risk, easily exploit any weak points, and eventually gain access to sensitive company information and networks.

Another potential risk of open-source software is the lack of verification. Understandably, there’s no assurance that a qualified expert will execute comprehensive evaluation and quality assurance or that those reviewing the code will carefully assess its security. Generally, the lack of confirmation can put your infrastructure at risk of cybersecurity breaches

4.Concerns About Intellectual Property

Open-source software can be licensed under a wide range of terms. Unfortunately, most of these licenses may not be compatible with one another. 

As a result, certain components may not sync because you must follow all the requirements when using open-source software. Using additional components can make tracking and comparing the license obligations tricky. 

5. Inadequacies In The Operational Capacity

Using open-source components may add to the workload of an already overburdened team. In most cases, it remains uncertain who’s accountable for the task. It’s critical to keep track of the components you’re using, your version, where they’re applicable, and how they might interact with existing components.

It also entails comparing licensing and monitoring updates and system patches, including any impact they might have on the overall functionality. When the components include unnecessary functions, they’re likely to add complexity to your system without providing any additional benefit.

7. Poor Developer Practices  

Developers might also be responsible for inadvertently increasing the risk. In most cases, it happens if they tend to copy-paste sections of code from open-source software instead of integrating entire components. This approach makes it impossible to keep track of code from a licensing or security standpoint.

Components may be exchanged by email rather than a shared network location when developers collaborate with other team members. Regrettably, this method might expose code to alteration during transfer, frequently resulting in the injection of security flaws or malicious attributes. 

Final Thoughts  

If open-source software is something you’re considering for your business soon, it might be best to give it a second thought. Businesses of all sizes are vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks, which are on the rise. 

Since open-source software has its share of potential risks, make it a priority to perform assurance activities meticulously. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you can protect and secure your company’s systems and networks if you take the necessary precautions.