Will it surprise you that many of the business software applications we use today take components from the opensource community?
An alarming 91% of the codebases contained opensource dependencies that had no development activity in the last two years — meaning no code improvements and no security fixes.
According to Tim Mackey, principal security strategist with the Synopsys Cybersecurity Research Center, more than 90% of the codebases were using opensource with no development activity in the past two years is not surprising.
“Unlike commercial software, where vendors can push information to their users, opensource relies on community engagement to thrive. When an opensource component is adopted into a commercial offering without that engagement, project vitality can easily wane. Orphaned projects aren’t a new problem, but when they occur, addressing security issues becomes that much harder,” he added.
He opined that the solution is simple one: invest in supporting those projects you depend upon for your success.
Highlights of the report
100% of the companies audited in the marketing tech industry sector — which includes lead generation CRM, and social media — contained opensource in their codebases. 95% of the marketing tech codebases contained opensource vulnerabilities.
98% of healthcare sector codebases contained opensource. 67% of those codebases contained vulnerabilities.
97% of financial services/fintech sector codebases contained opensource. Over 60% of those codebases contained vulnerabilities.
92% of codebases in the retail and e-commerce sector contained opensource, and 71% of the codebases in that sector contained vulnerabilities.
85% of the codebases contained opensource dependencies that were more than four years out-of-date.
Unlike abandoned projects, these outdated opensource components have active developer communities who publish updates and security patches that are not being applied by their downstream commercial consumers.
Beyond the obvious security implications of neglecting to apply patches, the use of outdated opensource components can contribute to unwieldy technical debt in the form of functionality and compatibility issues associated with future updates.
In 2020, the percentage of codebases containing vulnerable opensource components rose to 84% — a 9% increase from 2019. The percentage of codebases containing high-risk vulnerabilities jumped from 49% to 60%. Several of the top 10 opensource vulnerabilities that were found in codebases in 2019 reappeared in the 2020 audits, all with significant percentage increases.
Over 90% of the audited codebases contained opensource components with license conflicts, customised licenses, or no license at all. 65% of the codebases audited in 2020 contained opensource software license conflicts, typically involving the GNU General Public License.
26% of the codebases were using opensource with no license or a customised license.
All three issues often need to be evaluated for potential intellectual property infringement and other legal concerns, especially in the context of merger and acquisition transactions.