5 Ways of Mitigating Open Source Security Vulnerabilities

Subscribe to my newsletter and never miss my upcoming articles

Virtually every application across all industries has open source components and libraries as its foundation. This makes it crucial for everyone involved in the process of developing applications - especially the manager of application or security – to have an understanding of the methods of identification, tracking, and management of open source resources. Here are 5 steps that can be taken to mitigate risks associated with open-source

Ways of managing open-source risks

1. Itemization

It’s recommended to take an inventory of all open-source components used by the development teams to build software. This can be done by maintaining a software bill of materials (sBOM). A sBOM is an inventory of all open-source and third-party components that make up a codebase.

2. Tracking of Dependencies

Open-source softwares are usually built on libraries which have dependencies. These top-level libraries call on directly dependent libraries which in turn, may be linked to other libraries. This creates a tree of dependencies that carries the inevitable risk of vulnerabilities. It is therefore important that developers embed controls into the build process to track the underlying dependencies and enforce predefined policies automatically.

3. Proper identification of Open-source risks

Developers have to ensure that they constantly monitor the build versions of the open source component they use so as to enable easy detection of security risks in the form of outdated components or unstable versions.

4. Mapping of open-source software to known security vulnerabilities

Although the documentation of security vulnerabilities on vulnerability databases can be seen as a double-edged sword (due to the fact that it not only raises awareness for the decent members of the open source community, but black-hat hackers are also made aware of flaws in open source systems), it is important that developers and security architects stay informed of any published vulnerabilities that may affect the open-source supply-chain. The National Vulnerability Database is a trusted source of publicly disclosed open-source vulnerabilities

5. Continuous monitoring

Even after an application has been built and deployed, monitoring for dependency risks never ends. Teams need to constantly keep track of vulnerabilities by monitoring for new threats as long as their software remains in service. Snyk's automated tool for vulnerability testing is a useful tool for continuous monitoring

Comments (2)

Edidiong Asikpo's photo

These are really awesome tips Irhose Apori. I will keep them in mind going forward.

Irhose Apori's photo

Thanks for reading through Edidiong, I'm a fan of your writing, plus I'm glad you found the article helpful