In 2019, companies reported losses of over $2 trillion resulting from cybercrime, making it one of the leading concerns in every industry. Unfortunately, most of the losses involved small businesses, bringing the concern of limited resources to the table. While larger organizations — even those with little expertise — have budgets permitting the onboarding of individual experts or teams to secure their platforms from risks, smaller businesses are typically left vulnerable because of the assumption of expense.
Hiring an in-house cybersecurity expert is not the only way to protect your business against cybercrime; ensuring your platform is secure against vulnerabilities is an affordable and necessary task to reduce risks of future losses. Open source scanning is the best tool for the job, especially before launch, but will continue to be useful throughout the life of the website or platform.
What Is Open Source Scanning?
Open source software is helpful in website and application development. Not only does OSS allow web designers a speedy route to getting projects running, but it also provides access to the code that makes the software operate, meaning individual programmers can alter or modify the software to suit specific projects. Unfortunately, because the code is publicly available, it is also vulnerable. Open source scanning is the process of examining OSS for vulnerabilities and known risks, allowing programmers to fix any issues before publication.
What Is OSS Scanning?
OSS scanning is the process of reviewing open source applications or code to uncover any dependencies or risks. Typically, scanners use specialized programs and software, which is best managed through a third-party service. Companies specializing in OSS scanning use proprietary security programs to scour through enterprise applications and software products before public release, ensuring organizational assets remain secure.
What Is an Open Source Vulnerability Scanner?
While OSS vulnerabilities are considered public knowledge — with contributors, OWASP, and the NVD making regular announcements — the list of vulnerabilities continuously grows, making it difficult for organizations and individual programmers to identify every possible weakness alone. Open source vulnerability scanners are tools designed to comb through OSS and dependencies, identifying known vulnerabilities and risks. The devices are constantly updated to include the newest known threats, ensuring organizations can minimize the chances of cyberattacks.
How Does an Open Source Vulnerability Scanner Work?
An open source vulnerability scanner searches through an application, platform, or product to identify known threats or risks, but how can it do this? The scanner relies on a database of known vulnerabilities, including:
- Known flaws
- Packet construction anomalies
- Coding bugs
- Default configurations
- Sensitive pathways
As an automated tool, the scanner utilizes a three-stage process when scouring code. First, it inspects open source components in the project files, identifying critical metadata and establishing an inventory of dependencies and open source components. Second, it verifies license compliance, identifying any conflicts between organizational policies and open source applications. Finally, the scanner identifies any vulnerabilities by comparing OSS against vulnerability databases.
Scanners can also probe software to uncover common flaws, which can find unknown vulnerabilities. The depth and capabilities of an OSS scanner depend on the tool or security firm being used.
Why You Need an Open Source Vulnerability Scanner?
The use of open source code is an economical approach to developing websites, applications, and products because it allows organizations and developers to create tailored programs faster from established working code. Unfortunately, because OSS is public knowledge, the code is open to manipulation, creating dependencies, redundancies, and providing a pathway for hidden malware to invade other proprietary components, making vulnerability scanners an essential part of organizational cyber defense.
Open Source Deployment Vulnerabilities
While open source libraries and frameworks are an effective strategy for the rapid development of applications, it is critical not to rush into production or publication until the software can be adequately vetted and secured. OSS presents several risks that companies and developers must mitigate to ensure organizational and intellectual property remains safe.
There is no denying the advantages of using OSS in the development process, especially when these programs and tools are free; however, with the benefit of rapid development comes the risk of unknown authors. Without knowing the author, it is often challenging to see the pedigree of the code and adherence to secure coding techniques.
When a business or developer commits to using open source technology, there is an inherent security risk. While a programmer might adhere to application security best practices in their code, the open source code might not, often exposing businesses to several potential threats and vulnerabilities, including:
- Malware injections
- Data exposure
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
Seasoned developers know about common vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, not all open source projects are the products of experienced developers, meaning OSS might be vulnerable to several coding issues:
- SQL Injections: The open source code might permit SQL script alterations. Allowing such alterations enables attackers to modify database parameters and compromise or manipulate information.
- Insecure Direct Object Reference: An access control vulnerability, IDOR uses user-supplied input to refer to an object directly. Using a name or id as a URL parameter can expose data, providing hackers valuable information to attack the site.
- Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): Through compromised web pages, cybercriminals can use client-side scripts to deface existing pages, expose sensitive data, and extract cookies. All of this damage is executed by users viewing the web page.
- Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF): CSRF attacks trick authenticated users into executing further authentication requests. Cyber thieves can then use the information to create or modify accounts for future attacks.
- Security Misconfiguration: When developers use default configurations, they open themselves up to this type of vulnerability. It is possible the developer doesn’t even know about the default settings, but attackers can use these settings to retrieve sensitive data and compromise the technology.
Benefits of Using Open Source Vulnerability Scanners
Vulnerability scanners allow developers and organizations to improve the security of platforms, products, and services. The scanners provide a repeatable process for ongoing security through future updates and technical changes. Additionally, open source vulnerability scanners allow organizations to facilitate standard data protection requirements.
Why Should Everyone Use an Open Source Vulnerability Scanner?
An open source vulnerability scanner like SOOS offers can provide reassurance and confidence in organizational programming and applications. The tool provides security and development teams with five distinct advantages.
OSS scanners are continuously updated with the newest threat knowledge from well-established and monitored databases, including the NVD. The consistent updating of code libraries helps scanners provide a streamlined approach to portfolio reviews and analysis, allowing for quicker remediation of any potential threats.
The identification of vulnerabilities within the code enables quick and decisive action. Programmers do not need to scour the OSS because the scanner discovers all instances of the issue, allowing security and development teams to focus on remediation through aggressive response protocols.
Using an OSS scanner takes the investigative work out of framework analysis because the tool automatically reveals the OSS framework and utilizes libraries. It highlights dependencies and tracks the open source data: use, version, etc.
While the majority of open source software is free to use, it might still require licensing. Open source scanning tools help mitigate future legal implications by revealing open source modules, helping businesses and developers comply with license expectations.
Finally, open source scanners provide confidence in the end product. When use is standard practice, developers and management can detect and eliminate vulnerabilities in the early stages of the development process, reducing future risks and ensuring best security practices before websites or applications are live.
Network Vulnerability Scan Categories
When looking into vulnerability scanners, there are several categories to be aware of: external, internal, and environmental. An external vulnerability scan examines your network firewalls to determine if there are any holes for malicious attacks. An internal scan operates within the company’s firewalls to identify vulnerabilities inside the network. Finally, environmental scans are rooted in a business’s specific operational and technological environment.
Additionally, a company should be aware of the different scanning methods, including intrusive and non-intrusive scanning. Intrusive methods attempt to exploit vulnerabilities to demonstrate risks. Many companies prefer non-intrusive methods because they don’t disrupt operational processes and systems.
Vulnerability Scanning Types
A comprehensive vulnerability scanning tool accomplishes multiple tasks, helping organizations identify and secure their projects before, after, and during launch and future updates. SOOS’ vulnerability scanning tool helps ensure your open source software is secure by alerting you to any known vulnerabilities. SOOS is a customizable security solution, providing in-depth scanning and user definitions for governance and project policies. Sign up with SOOS, and start protecting against potential open source vulnerabilities.