Have you ever considered an open source audit for your organization? | Receiver London
Whether it’s due to the need to identify known vulnerabilities in a codebase containing open source code or due to an impending acquisition by a software company, you’ve come to the right place. This article will walk you through what open source code is, when you should consider investing in an open source audit, to what happens after the audit is complete.
What is Open Source code?
Before we dive into explaining all about open-source code audits and when you should consider them, let’s first start by understanding what open-source code is.
the “Source code” is the part of the software that most computer users never see; it is the code that computer programmers can manipulate to modify the operation of software (a “program” or an “application”). Programmers who have access to the source code of a computer program can improve that program by adding features or fixing parts that do not always work correctly. Open source code is widely used by software development companies to speed development and reduce costs. Open source software is software whose source code is publicly available and anyone can inspect, modify and improve it.
According to Gartner, 95% of IT organizations worldwide use open source software for their mission-critical IT workloads, whether they realize it or not. The benefits of using open source software include freedom and flexibility, lower costs, high quality, and innovation through communities.
However, the use of open source software also creates challenges for businesses. These include an increase in security vulnerabilities, they can sometimes become too complex, software patches and updates will have to be handled by IT teams and this can come with a lack of customer support. Using open source code in proprietary software also creates challenges if the code violates licensing rules.
What is an Open Source Code Audit?
An open source code audit is used by companies to detect and identify the existence of open source code. The audit will identify the open-source code and their corresponding licenses. There are many common open source licenses, including:
There are some reasons why companies use open source audits today. These include:
Investment – The opportunity to invest in a software or SaaS company can be tempting. Before investing, you should ensure that the company’s intellectual property belongs to that company and does not contain open source code that could negatively affect the value of the company.
Acquisition (M&A) – When acquiring a software company or intellectual property (IP) belonging to a company, it is essential to identify if any of these products contain open-source code not belonging to this company. society. For example, if open source code with a GPL license exists in the code base, it will most likely be problematic.
Outsourced developer – If you outsource software development to a third-party developer, you may seek assurances or warranties that the code base does not contain any open source code. In order to determine if the developer is living up to their part of the agreement, it is essential to audit the open source code to verify compliance.
Security – Using open source code carries security risks because the code is publicly available. Hackers can use this code to find and exploit vulnerabilities that may exist. Research has shown that 78% of audited codebases contained at least one open source vulnerability, 54% of which were high risk that hackers could exploit. The recent Log4j violation highlights the inherent risks of open source code embedded in computer systems. According to cybersecurity experts, hackers can gain easy access to a company’s computer server, giving them access to other parts of a network. It is also very difficult to find the vulnerability or see if a system has already been compromised. An open source code audit and implementation of a Software Bill of Materials Maintenance Policy (SBOM) will help identify known vulnerabilities in a code base containing open source code.
What happens after auditing open-source code?
After the audit, a final audit report will be submitted and should provide a comprehensive overview of the materials construction. Report items can include the following:
- An inventory of all source code files contained in the codebase
- List of files containing copyright
- List of files containing licenses
- List of open-source licenses linked to this code
- Detailed report written by an open source licensing expert identifying possible constraints, potential IP issues and known security vulnerabilities with audited open source code.
It’s important to choose an open-source code auditing provider who can walk you through what was found and provide actionable insights to your company’s IT team.