September 16 is Software Freedom Day (SFD), a global celebration organized by the Digital Freedom Foundation to educate and increase awareness of the availability of free and open-source software and encourage its use.
Since it was first celebrated in 2004, SFD has continued to grow in popularity, with numerous events promoting the freedom to study, modify, access and distribute free software.
The advantages of using FOSS are numerous, including absolute transparency, flexibility and cost-efficiency for its users. However, as with anything in the digital era, free and open-source software is also susceptible to cybersecurity issues and challenges for end users, developers and businesses, including:
- Threat actors can use names similar to those of legitimate open-source applications or components (misspelling package names or suggesting trustworthy authors) to trick users into downloading malicious components
- Malicious code hidden in packages can infiltrate user devices and steal sensitive data
- Vulnerabilities are among the most significant risks of using open-source applications, potentially causing major security issues for users and developers.
How to safely use and integrate free open-source software
Mitigating cybersecurity risks in open-source software is crucial to ensure the security of data and the integrity of FOSS.
Here are some steps you can take to prevent threats:
- Use secure coding practices to minimize the risk of introducing vulnerabilities in the software and implement code review processes to identify or fix any potential
- Use secure communications channels in collaboration processes with other developers to prevent the interception of sensitive information by malicious individuals
- Update and patch frequently to fix known security risks and prevent exploits
- Use trusted sources for downloading and installing FOSS to avoid malware infections and data compromise
- Communicate with developers and open-source communities to address potential security issues and stay up to date with the latest threats
- Stick to good cyber hygiene and remain vigilant against social engineering schemes
- Use a security solution to block e-threats and protect against zero-day exploits, rootkits, spyware and phishing attempts, or give our free antivirus a try!
Happy Software Freedom Day!