Computer programs or software with open source have their source codes available to everyone online. Using programs built with open source codes in your organization can be helpful, especially because they enable flexibility and creativity. However, this can pose serious cybersecurity threats. Cyber-criminals who have access to such source codes can use them to invade your company’s website and cart away valuable data.
Therefore, proper management of your open source components is important for your company’s cyber-safety. Managing your open source won’t be such a fuss if you use open source scanners. As long as the requirements are met, you will have a smooth flow using them. As you make the decision to begin to use open source scanners, it’s important to identify open source requirements, as well as understand open-source compatibility and compliance.
Open source management is the sole obligation of any network security team or managed security service provider, and this requires that they assess, mitigate, and report any security vulnerabilities discovered in an organization’s network systems. But you can only manage vulnerabilities if they have been identified, and this can only be achieved through a comprehensive open-source scanning program.
Today, newer and more sophisticated solutions have been developed and introduced, and they enable an effective, fast, and continuous approach to managing your open source usage. Don’t know if you should be complying with open source scanning regulations? Learn about the in’s and out’s of OSS with our complete guide.
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What is Open Source Scanning?
A vulnerability scan identifies and creates an inventory of all the systems connected to a network. After an inventory has been created, each item in the inventory is checked against one or more databases of known vulnerabilities to see if any items are subject to any of these vulnerabilities.
Open source scanning effectively does the following:
- Identifies the operating system a device runs on and the software installed on it
- Identifies other attributes such as open ports and user accounts
- Makes a list of all the systems found and identified on the network and;
- Highlights any that have known vulnerabilities that may need attention.
Types of Open-Source Scanning
There are two major types of vulnerability scanning. Considering that vulnerability scanning methods aren’t alike, and also to ensure compliance with certain regulations, it’s necessary to carry out these two distinct types of vulnerability scans.
1. Internal Vulnerability Scan
An internal vulnerability scan is conducted from within the defense systems of an organization’s network. Its sole purpose is to discover vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers who have penetrated the cyberdefense perimeter, or the ones carried out by insiders, which are often referred to as insider threats. This could be from contractors or unhappy and dissatisfied employees who have access to parts of the network.
2. External Vulnerability Scan
On the other hand, an external vulnerability scan is conducted from outside an organization’s network, and its primary purpose is to discover vulnerabilities in the network’s defenses such as specialized web application firewalls or open ports in the network firewall. An external vulnerability scan can help organizations fix security issues that could enable hackers to gain access to an organization’s network.
Authenticated and Unauthenticated Vulnerability Scans
Although not identical in variation, internal and external vulnerability scans have similar goals with the use of unauthenticated and authenticated vulnerability scans. Authenticated scans provide vulnerability scanners with various credentials that are advantageous, and allow them to penetrate the network for misconfigured databases and weak passwords. On the other hand, authenticated scans, just like external scans, search for loopholes in the network’s defenses.
How Does Open-Source Scanning Work?
Open source scanning detects vulnerabilities in systems and software. IT security teams use this detection as the first part of a four-part vulnerability management process which involves:
- Identification of vulnerabilities
- Evaluation of the risk posed by any vulnerabilities identified
- Treatment of these identified vulnerabilities and;
- Reporting on vulnerabilities and how they have been handled.
It’s advisable to design open source scanning to be less aggressive or invasive, as there is the possibility that the scanning process affects the performance or stability of systems being interrogated. It can also cause bandwidth issues on some networks. A sure remedy to this is to learn the ins and outs of open source scanning.
Open-Source Scanning Requirements
Here, below, the requirements for open source scanning have been concisely explained. Read on to understand and see if you meet them in your organization.
- Scanner Resiliency: since there will always be an attempt at unauthorized use or modification of open source codes, it’s essential to harden scanners by closing unnecessary ports and/or unnecessary services. This will help to resist such attempts, thereby ensuring the cyber-safety of your organization.
- Scanning with Full Authorization: Authorization issues such as lack of access to the remote registry, limited registry access, limited file access, etc, must be avoided.
- Authenticated Scanning: authenticated scans help to get precise information about vulnerabilities on covered devices. For moderate and high systems, make sure authenticated scans are performed wherever possible. Ideally, authenticated scans should be performed once every month on covered devices such as sysadmin.
- Machine-Readable Findings: make sure the scan output displays all scan findings with the lowest and highest risks in structured, machine-readable formats such as XML, CSV, or JSON. Therefore, the machine-readable data must include the authentication and authorization status of the scans to demonstrate the degree to which an authenticated scan was performed on each host.
- Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) Risk Scoring: for any vulnerability with a CVSS version 3.0 base score assigned in the latest version of the National Vulnerability Database(NVD), the CVSS version 3 base score must be used as the original risk rating. If no CVSS version 3 score is available, a CVSS version 2 base score is acceptable where available. If no CVSS score is available, the native scanner base risk score can be used.
Install critical security patches within one month of release. Ensure that all system components and software are protected from known vulnerabilities by installing applicable vendor-supplied security patches.
Adequate Identification: the scanner findings must contain unique asset identifiers that map to an inventory. Establish a process to identify security vulnerabilities, using reputable outside sources for security vulnerability information. Also, employ a risk ranking system, such as “high,” “medium,” or “low” to newly discovered security vulnerabilities
Without a doubt, all organizations have network vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are simply inevitable in any complex system like modern IT environments, especially when that system is subject to progressive evolution and complex change. Although many experts argue that such an evolution can lead to the development of more secure network systems, no one can deny the possible disastrous effects of such changes on cyber-safety.
However, you can lower your risks. RSI Security’s OSS scan tool will help your organization comply with the requisite open-source licenses necessary to secure your network and critical data. In case you’re unsure if your network’s defense systems are able to detect vulnerabilities, our open-source scanning tools will ensure that you’re using best-of-breed applications designed to protect your customers’ data, and most importantly, retain their trust.
RSI Security will arm your business with some of the best web vulnerability scanner technologies to help you take a proactive stance against malicious actors. Click here to learn more about our powerful OSS automation system.