Open-Source: Your Biggest Cyber Risk and What to do About it

Open-source provides developers with good code that performs well after customization. Its simple and easy, but it involves many risks. (COURTESY IMAGE) Open-source provides developers with good code that performs well after customization. Its simple and easy, but it involves many risks. (COURTESY IMAGE)
<center>Open-source provides developers with good code that performs well after customization. Its simple and easy, but it involves many risks. (COURTESY IMAGE)</center>

To meet the fast speed of time and increasing demand for software, whether online or desktop, open-source is the best option. It lessens the developers’ effort and provides them with good code that performs well after a bit of customization. It seems pretty simple and easy, but it involves many risks of different degrees. Let’s explore.

Reasons for Open Source Risks

While considering open source libraries, we see the two main reasons for it. Both are as follows:


These are the weak points in computer codes that can be exploited by a cyber-attack to acquire ratified access to a computer system and perform all activities legally. The hackers can exploit many vulnerabilities in the open-source. Zero-days and half-day vulnerabilities, vulnerabilities inherited from other libraries, vulnerabilities due to library versioning, and many others can be included as examples.


Intelligent hackers invade the systems by creating innocent and straightforward libraries and updating them with malicious code later. Such libraries rapidly affect web applications and computer systems. Ransomware attacks use this kind of library.

Risks involved in Open Source
Due to the above-stated causes, there could be many security concerns about open-source software. However, we’ll discuss the top three risks involved in open source libraries. These include:

1. Security Risks
Open-source vulnerabilities become a security risk because attackers can easily exploit them. These are available publicly, and everyone can access them; it enhances the risk many folds. The widespread of these libraries makes it more challenging to manage them. Dealing with open source vulnerabilities is always a difficult task, and organizations consistently work on open source security.

2. Exploitation because of publicly accessibility
open-source libraries are available publicly, and it causes exploitation of their vulnerabilities. The criminals utilize them, and cyber-attacks happen. In history, there have been many critical attacks reported because of the exploitation of these vulnerabilities. Equifax breach 2017 can be quoted as an example.

3. License Compliance Risk 
A license is always associated with open source software that allows using, modifying, or sharing the code. This code is used in numerous proprietary software, and these Softwares come with different licenses that meet different standards. In this scenario, it becomes challenging to comply with all licenses. If the organizations do not comply with licenses, they can face legal actions.

What to do?

To deal with these risks, the organizations can act upon many plans as per their situation. However, hereunder is some crucial solution to the security risks regarding open source.

1. Develop a security-based culture
Open-source programs are often used in the form of components rather than complete software. Developers focus on the required functionality and time-saving in releasing software updates. Maintaining a balance among all factors and preferring a security culture can help reduce the threats.

2. Use automation and vulnerability scanners
Because of the widespread open-source libraries and their vulnerabilities, it becomes difficult to find out the impacted libraries and other components. Automated scanners can help a lot in finding and fixing such issues, and numerous scanners are available in the market and help improve security.

3. Extend your staff training
The organizations should design extended training plans for their staff regarding programming and security issues. It will significantly help to cope with security issues regarding open source.

Bottom Line
The open-source includes significant security risks that need to be addressed to avoid data breaches and functionality issues. Intelligent handling can make it possible.

Arslan Riaz is a digital marketer and versed blogger. He has been working in this field for some time now and knows how to balance creativity and the technical side of content. He loves to write blogs endlessly and share his knowledge & experiences with others. Visit for more info.