Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Open source software a security risk, study claims

Open source software is a significant security risk for corporations that use it because in many cases, the open source community fails to adhere to minimal security best practices, according a study released Monday.

The study, carried out by Fortify Software with help from consultant Larry Suto, evaluated 11 open source software packages and each community's response to security issues over the course of about three months. The goal was to find out if the community for each open source software package was responsive to security questions or vulnerability findings, published security guidelines and maintained a secure development process, for example.

Open source application server Tomcat scored the best in the study, titled "Open Source Study -- How Are Open Source Development Communities Embracing Security Best Practices?"

The remaining 10 open source application, tool and database packages -- Derby, Geronimo, Hibernate, Hipergate, JBoss, Jonas, OFBiz, OpenCMS, Resin and Struts -- had a dismal showing. Among these 10 packages, application server JBoss scored higher by providing a prominent link to security information on its Web site and easy access to security experts, but came up short for not having a specific e-mail alias for submission of security vulnerabilities.

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