The practice of using Open Source Software (OSS) and other third-party software (TPS) to build products and services is well established. Not only can it create tremendous efficiency–why build an operating system or web server if you don’t need to?–it also allows individual products to leverage best-of-breed functionality. This best-of-breed functionality can be critical on today’s Internet as security and scalability are often difficult or even patently ignored until it is too late.
The use of TPS to build things has been so successful and is so widespread that many products may even be assembled from a majority of software written by unknown third parties. This practice is not without its challenges. One of those challenges is security.
How does the security of a product’s constituent TPS affect its own security? How does the creator of the product learn of, manage and ultimately resolve security issues that originate in the relevant TPS packages?
These are the types of questions I attempted to address during a recent presentation at O’Reilly OSCON 2012. During that session I touched on seven challenges and offered five tools that I believe can make a difference.
Is this an area of concern for you? If it is, I’d like to know how you are tackling it. What is working well? What is working not-so well?