More organizations and development teams are adopting a method of constant software development and deployment as applications continue to shift online. Cloud management firm Rightscale revealed that roughly 78 percent of organizations had taken this approach in the hopes of enhancing code security.
The growing industry consensus is that top-notch security must begin from the ground up at the source code. This is why open source scanning tools are rapidly gaining traction, with 93 percent of businesses using it and roughly 78 percent performing all or part of their business on open source platforms.
The rapid increase of cybercrime and growing demands on system performance are all primary contributors to the need to improve code security. Conventional tools like antivirus software and firewalls are no longer adequate in battling the evolving and complex threat environment that brings together malware and hackers.
Nevertheless, manual open source tools are prone to leaving security holes that can prove detrimental to critical information. This is why organizations rush to adopt industry-standard OSS automation tools to reap the benefits of higher security levels and compliance in a highly-regulated environment.
As organizations take advantage of many open source products, they also put themselves at risk of unique security challenges. About 96 percent of commercial applications use open source components, which makes it even more challenging to ensure that your software is secure enough to perform business transactions.
According to Statista, the total revenue for the open-source software industry is expected to reach the $70 billion mark by the end of the year. In general, open-source scanning tools enable organizations to track business components and protect their operations from vulnerabilities.
What are OSS Automation Tools?
More often than not, it combines the file system scanning and builds process tracking to monitor all open source in use, including those components that any other solutions miss. This helps diagnose security vulnerabilities to not only manage risks but also adhere to open-source regulations, standards, and best practices.
Moreover, powerful OSS automation tools also establish an accurate Bill of Materials (BOM) for all their applications. Necessarily, the BOM will define the components included in the applications, license types, and the version of ingredients used. This is imperative in providing precise data, which will help organizations make better decisions to move forward with their security strategies and reduce wasteful spending.
Through an OSS automation tool, organizations can establish third-party notices to stakeholders and key partners effectively. It also enables organizations to uncover all open source used in binaries, containers, OS components, subcomponents, build dependencies, and source codes.
This is especially important as organizations factor in large software supply chains such as third-party suppliers, partners, and open-source projects. What is more, these tools can also quickly incorporate open-source code scanning into an established landscape to scan and identify code dependencies.
Considering the incredible variety of the ways developers share code is essential in understanding why OSS automation is paramount. The moment code is shared casually; it passes a plethora of unknown license and copyright responsibilities for every subsequent that uses or spreads the system.
As more and more code is written, used, and shared, legal risks and obligations cascade throughout the community. Regardless of whether developers diligently avoid sharing of codes, they are more than likely to depend on sharing, which leads to pulling in thousands of OSS libraries from casual developers that may include cybercriminals.
According to the Open Source Security and Risk Analysis (OSSRA) report by Synopsys, close to 60 percent of all codebases used by enterprises are made up of at least one vulnerability from open source components. As strange as it sounds, the problem is not in the use of these open-source libraries but instead in the lack of monitoring and scanning of the different libraries organizations use to develop products.
In most cases, the majority of organizations do not have a clearly defined policy that guarantees developers who want to use a piece of software go through an authorization process. Even though risk should be taken into account in context, organizations should be able to distinguish the difference between what an attacker can take advantage of and the technical aspect of the risk.
More specifically, the use of open-source code can put the business in potential infringement risks as these projects do not have standard commercial controls. In other words, proprietary codes can make its way into open-source projects, which may often lead to operational inefficiencies within the organization.
From an organizational standpoint, the failure to monitor and update open source components poses a grave concern in keeping with more innovative versions. What is more, the public nature of open source makes it even harder for organizations to repair issues before they publicly announce information on vulnerabilities.
This is because the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) immediately reports all vulnerabilities and exploits, which could potentially lead to downtime. Besides that, it can also provide hackers an opportunity to access information and go after organizations that are slow to patch vulnerabilities within an application reliant on open source projects.
When organizations build their software on a layer of open-source components, they become potentially exposed to threats like data breaches, malware injections, and Denial of Service attacks. Usually, cybercriminals stay on top of these vulnerabilities and can use this data to exploit organizations that do not promptly monitor their vulnerable, open-source components.
With an OSS automation tool, organizations can verify false positives and recognize vulnerabilities; thus, eradicating the need for unnecessary human resources costs. They can also get an accurate view of the open-source dependencies, patch vulnerabilities, and acquire remediation recommendations to improve their software further.
More than anything else, OSS automation tools also set and enforce policies to ensure that license compliance is critical at all levels within the organization from the developers up to the senior management. This is because these tools emphasize the need to create policies, provide OS training, and, more importantly, respond to license compliance and security across the organization.
These tools are also responsible for automating the approval process and setting specific usage and remediation guidance. By doing so, organizations can monitor vulnerability and security issues, thus, enabling them to create actionable alerts on newly-discovered threats and put up the necessary steps to avoid a data breach.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of these automation tools is to help organizations achieve OSS compliance. By achieving OSS compliance, organizations can reduce hardware costs, gain ample support, and acquire high-quality software that can protect consumer and business information effectively.
How to Choose the Right OSS Automation Tool?
As the trend for OSS compliance starts to grow, the need to choose the right OSS automation tool becomes even more critical. While the IT environment is packed with a myriad of automation tools, not all system-based devices can suit every organization.
Each business may have to carefully assess the project particulars to find the automation equipment that best fits a specific need. Outlined below are essential tips to remember in choosing the most appropriate OSS automation tool for your operations.
1. Understand Organizational Needs
Keeping a sustainable quality of an application by delivering a bug-free product is critical for the success of any project. This is why it is crucial for organizations to get a deep understanding of their business requirements like the existing team’s strength on code language, the scope of their business operations, and business type before they start looking. More specifically, it is essential to use a tool that can seamlessly integrate with your test management tools and project tools and is easy to learn and use.
2. Consider your Current Tools as a Benchmark
Benchmarking enables organizations to stack themselves up against other companies and improve their organizations. By comparing current tools to their present needs, organizations can get detailed comparisons of the equipment they need to protect their open source-coded applications from cybercriminals further.
Usually, testing teams only use Selenium if they are uncomfortable with coding techniques and test web applications through the user interface. It is because the maintenance for a separate tester can be costly and lead to browser compatibility issues.
This also ensures that the web vulnerability scanner you choose can provide your organization with ease of use. By choosing a simple and easy-to-use scanner, organizations can spend their time fixing vulnerabilities rather than figuring out how to operate the technicalities of a scanner.
3. Develop a Test OSS automation on Frameworks for Automated Checks
The development of test-driven procedures provides a more business-focused version of establishing application requirements based on user needs. Known as behavioral-driven development, this particular technique mines user stories for cases that can be implemented as tests.
By testing OSS automation on frameworks, organizations can have a complete picture of how it systematizes the scanning process and ensure that they are choosing a piece of equipment that fits their operations. This is also necessary for the seamless integration of their code vulnerability scanner with other cybersecurity services, thus, enabling them to enforce policy at every phase of their processes.
The scanner should be able to recognize multiple web vulnerabilities. Even though most scanners can determine the basic and most straightforward of vulnerabilities, the scanner of your choice should be able to recognize weaknesses that are less widespread.
4. Always make sure it covers a Myriad of Web Technologies
The initial step in a vulnerability assessment is to crawl the web application. The crawling process will typically identify all the elements, forms, and pages that make up the web application.
Organizations should also opt for automation scanners that can understand the web technologies they used in their web applications, counting that the scanner can only scan the elements and pages that are identified at the crawling stage.
Besides web technologies, organizations that use content management systems should also consider the scope of their chosen scanners. This is because standard CMS like Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress all include a set of vulnerabilities.
Furthermore, an OSS automation tool should not only be able to help organizations understand their system vulnerabilities better but also assists them in the troubleshooting process and enhance their crawls.
By using tools that increase your crawl, your organization can gain insights that can be used as a base for future scans. This feature is handy if your organization decides to scan the target application in the future but only flip through the links that are recognized during this crawl.
The multi-dimensional open-source architectures of web-based systems and their complex interaction with unique types of systems inflate the number of security flaws that can be exploited by hackers. As highlighted by the Open Web Security Application Project, attackers might follow wide avenues through the digital infrastructure of an organization to search security weaknesses that might lead to severe consequences.
With OSS automation, organizations are not only able to secure on-premise applications through open source scanning tools but also comply with regulatory standards and best practices to stay abreast of emerging threats. Get in touch with an expert at RSI Security today to find out how your business can use OSS automation to reach greater heights and, more importantly, increase your bottom line.