The pace of software development is accelerating. Devops teams are under more pressure to launch products rapidly, and they are able to do so in part because of open-source software (OSS) tools.
According to estimates, OSS now makes up between 80 and 90 percent of all current software. However, OSS produces a big surface area that needs to be controlled because there are millions of packages published anonymously that developers utilise to build software, even though it has been a fantastic accelerator for software development.
Most open source programmers behave honourably; they care about making other programmers’ lives simpler who could run into the same problem they’re trying to solve. Because there is no financial reward for publishing an OSS package and a lot of negative feedback in comment threads, it is a thankless profession. “The most frequently encountered bad behavior is rudeness (45% witnessed, 16% experienced), followed by name calling (20% witnessed, 5% experienced) and stereotyping (11% witnessed, 3% experienced).” according to GitHub’s Open Source Survey.
Sadly, not all OSS packages can be relied upon. Since it is difficult to trace who made changes to open-source code, it is nearly impossible to pin down bad actors that intend to jeopardise the integrity of the code. Harmful open source software packages have occasionally been injected to highlight the fact that major corporations use them but do not support their development, as well as for simply malicious purposes.
Knowing the size of your application’s surface area is the first step in determining the type of hazard you face. To acquire visibility into the OSS packages and version numbers being used in your software, include automation into your cybersecurity procedures. You can fit this technique into your developers’ workflow by starting as early as the integrated development environment (IDE), preventing any delays.
Supply-chain Levels for Software Artifacts (SLSA) is the industry standard; it is a set of guidelines and safeguards intended “to prevent tampering, enhance integrity, and secure packages and infrastructure in your projects.” You can use specific tools that make use of SLSA to determine whether an OSS package has any known concerns before your developers begin using it.
The improved speed of application development is largely due to the use of open source software packages, but in order to reduce their risk and defend against cyberattacks, we need to be more aware of what is contained within them.