Software supply chains have been exploited more and more in the recent past due to lack of cyber security vulnerabilities. With open-source software being highly available, there is a rise in application security issues that can lead to dangerous security breaches. Following are the software threats that have a high chance of being misused:
Software developers may introduce code in the software which is risky. This can happen at the time of development or while version updates. The danger here is that developers don’t identify these threats and push the software to production i.e., release it for use.
Some of the software functionalities may not work as per expectations. This may be because of unfixed bugs or reused code.
Attacks caused due to confusing names
Hackers create names almost equal to original open-source software or components of the system. This is also called typo-squatting. Hackers also use the techniques of brand-jacking and combo-squatting. In brand-jacking, the hackers copy the authors’ identity. Whereas in the combo-squatting technique, hackers misuse the names in different languages/ecosystems. This leads to victims downloading malware believing that they are downloading valid software.
Misuse of original packages
Hackers inject actual, valid codes with their own malicious payloads. This affects the software functionality in the existing original system where the software is installed.
Software that is not updated
New, updated software versions have more protection as compared to the previous versions. This is because dev teams are constantly working to fix bugs discovered in base software code. Still, some users don’t use the updated versions, which can lead to security breaches commonly known as zero-day vulnerabilities.
Developers may be unaware of dependencies between multiple software components because they are part of other modules. If used without knowledge, this can introduce vulnerabilities in the software which can easily be exploited by hackers. The recent Log4j catastrophe was an attack along similar line.
Risks due to a lack of licensing
Open-source software can be used without acquiring paid licenses. However, this means you can download and install software that isn’t 100% safe or is incompatible with your existing system.
Software may have incomplete regression test suites or review guidelines or incomplete documentation. Software threats are increased to a large extent due to such incomplete software. This is against the best practices for development of the open-source projects.
Changes that aren’t approved
Developers may not notice inefficiencies they are introducing in their existing software while working on new enhancements. Such open-source components then get pushed to release with a lot of insecure data in them.
Information about the source code of the system, the architecture, and the distribution process may not be known.
Open Source Software threats can damage the system totally. So, software companies need to be on their toes as they have to protect themselves from high-profile breaches. These breaches may affect the users as well as the system as a whole. Most organizations need to use the open-sources which cannot be avoided. These open-sources may consist cyber security issues that the developers may not be aware about. For example, a developer from Endor Labs imported an open-source component. This component caused vulnerabilities in about 2000 software packages.
Cybersecurity teams must be responsible enough to avoid cyber risks to save the organization from huge losses. Software threats alter the way the systems behave. So, cyber security teams and the developers of the systems should work hand-in-hand for better security.