Open source apps are on a rapid growth even with low-security issues. Apps these days usually integrate 10 to 20% of the majority of the apps. Open source is used as the base of app development by plenty of sectors by enterprises of all size. Well, must be wondering why so? The common reasons behind this are that these will control the budget, accelerate the delivery time of the app, drives innovation and easy submission to the app store. Well, yes there is also another reason for choosing open source as a platform for mobile application development and that absence of stringent guidelines. As compared to that with Apple app store, Google Play store has liberal app submission guidelines and also lower fees.
Well, don’t get attracted to the glittering side of the open source as every coin has two sides and so do open source. Do you know, 80% of the cyber attacks target those apps which are open source? When coming to the app attacks, these are difficult to find and even more complicated to contain as compared to that with network attacks. Taking into account both these factors, apps are the primary target of the cyber attacks and open source being the base of the majority of the app code, there lies a big question mark on the security side.
Compared to the custom app, open source is nothing less insecurity but there are some of the driving factors that attract more attacks to it like the chance to target massive audience, ineffective testing tools and easy to reach. Majority of the enterprises opt for open source due to lack of adequate knowledge about vulnerabilities and easily visible attractions. Well, if you already have an app developed with open source, there’s no point discussing the negatives. We should be discussing ways to eradicate those negatives instead. So, let’s move on to that.
1) Analyze The Risk
Well, we have been hearing precaution is better than cure but do we implement it when real time need arises? NO, right? Well, get to work then. It’s always recommended to have a license to avoid litigation risk and compromise with any intellectual property. Also, keep a check on the components you are using as low-quality components and outdated ones will really compromise with the quality and functioning of the app. What else you should be taking care of is, Are you integrating the latest version of the app? Is it safe and stable? Is it maintained by a reliable community or not? All these are the underlying threats which you should be focusing on when having an open source app.
2) Make Your Open Source App Prepared For The Security Threats
NVD (National Vulnerability Database) is a reliable source which can give you details on the vulnerabilities which are shown publicly as an open source software. Well, you cannot entirely rely on NVD for your mobile app security as not all the threats are reported in time and in the exact form to the NVD. It can be a bit complex to decide the version of the open source component and how the vulnerability will affect it.
3) Track All The Open Source Component
You cannot protect if you are not aware of what you want to protect and from whom you want to protect. The intuitive step is keeping a track on the inventory of each and every component of open source which your associates take into use for developing mobile app along with all the versions that are in use and also the download location for every project that is in use and also the location of download for every app that’s in the development phase. Don’t miss out on the dependencies like the libraries that your code is relating to and also the libraries to which the dependencies are linked to in the inventory.
4) Have An Eye For The Upcoming Vulnerabilities
3600 vulnerabilities are found every year. Yes, you heard it right 3600. Being an app development company, your job doesn’t end with the development of an app. You will always be in the know of which new threat has entered the market and does it make any impact on your previously launched apps or the upcoming one. A developers job is never-ending when it comes to threats and maintenance.
5) Frame And Enforce Policies
There are enterprises that are devoid of even the most common documentation of the open source policies which would help them avoid risks. You should have a single channel of responsibility either an entity or a person to oversee the use of open source, make developers aware of their responsibilities and documented policies.