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Visibility is the key to prioritizing open source vulnerability fixes



Modern software is more than composed and based on open source components to make it faster and more efficient.

Developers Are No Longer a Secret Weapon for Developers Wanting to Meet Their Tight Deadlines The mainstream of the world's best-known companies, including Microsoft and Google, pointed out that they are users of and contributing to open source projects.

According to industry estimates, open source components account for 60-80% of the code base in modern applications. A recent open source vulnerability management survey of 650 developers found that 97% of respondents used open source and 87.4% said they used it regularly. This means that your software development team will most likely consistently use open source components for many of the core features of their products.

Open Source Vulnerabilities Grow

While Organizations Enjoy Powerful Features Because open source components help to support software production, they must be used responsibly to address security vulnerabilities in the components that could endanger their products.

As the Open Source Security Researchers' Community Strengthen Their Efforts To uncover new vulnerabilities in a variety of open source software projects has also increased the number of vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. In 201

7, we saw a increase of 51% from the year before, after a growing trend of reported CVEs was recorded in the software industry.

Under ideal circumstances, a company has a Software Composition Analysis tool that tracks open source usage and notifies them when new vulnerabilities are found in the components they use.

The challenge for organizations is to keep up with the growing workload of alerts and put pressure on a revamped crew.

According to our survey, developers are currently investing an average of 15 hours a month to deal with open source vulnerabilities. This includes investigating the vulnerability, passing it on to other team members or managers for care or advice, and assessing the security implications of their application. Interestingly, however, respondents indicated that they spent an average of just 3.8 hours on the actual corrections. This time to recovery would mean that the developers' time is being used inefficiently and they lack the necessary information for decision-making.

A little deeper into the survey, the developers said they have no accepted method to prioritize the vulnerabilities that must be on top of the to-do list. The majority claimed that their decisions were based on the perceived risk of their product, whether due to the criticality assessment of the vulnerability, how often it occurred in their software, or how quickly a fix was available.

It was clear from their responses that they had decisions without a complete picture of how a vulnerability directly impacts the security of their product, and whether or not it was worth their precious attention.

  Security

How do we assess a vulnerability?

Just because a vulnerability is considered critical does not mean that it should be a primary concern. It's easy to review the CVSS rating of a vulnerability and find that one is riskier for us than the other.

Without denying the legitimacy of a CVSS number, the potential damage that could be caused by a known open source component vulnerability may not be the correct factor in deciding which vulnerabilities to the fixes were a narrower selection list must be included.

Instead, it can be argued that the most important factor that must be considered in an infinite list of security alerts is determining whether a vulnerability actually has a direct impact on a product, thereby jeopardizing the product's exploitation.

When a developer selects a particular open-source component for his software from a resource such as GitHub, he selects a component that provides them with the desired functionality. You can create an API to access the specific functionality, and the product can call the features you want. A functionality that receives these calls is considered effective. The component, however, mixes other functionalities that are essentially essential to the journey. These functionalities are considered ineffective.

Our research on Java components has shown that only 30% of the vulnerable functionalities are actually effective. In later observations in our beta version with customers, the percentage was even closer to 15%.

These results have a significant impact on how we think about vulnerabilities that affect our products and what prioritization is set to in Vulnerability Management . helps us to make better decisions. If a component appears prone to a warning because it contains a vulnerable feature, it's worth the time to verify that it's actually being used by the product. No one wants to unnecessarily replace and reconfigure a component. An unanswered warning message is also not ideal, but unfortunately seems to be an ordinary process.

Using Automated Tools for More Visibility

Given the sheer number of security alerts developers could barely search for every single vulnerable component to determine whether they are effective or not. Imagine sending them hunting the dependency trees and looking for the offensive functionality.

Just as manual tracking of open source usage is a Sisyphean task, manual trace analysis is a vulnerable component to check how it works affects a project. Automated tools that save a lot of time can be used here.

Automated tools that perform effective usage analysis can immerse the developer so deeply that they have a clear view of the vulnerabilities that are effective and which ones are not.

Additionally, if an effective vulnerability is found, it can take developers directly to the place where the vulnerable code is located in the product, saving time on the hunt and enabling them to fix it.

Security teams are overburdened and understaffed . Therefore, using the power of automation is the only viable option for progress so developers can work more efficiently and spend more time developing new software.

Rami Sass, CEO and co-founder of WhiteSource


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