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The State of Open Source Security Highlights Many Organizations Lacking Strategies to Address Application Vulnerabilities Arising from Code Reuse

BOSTON — June 21, 2022 — Snyk, the leader in developer security, and The Linux Foundation, a completo nonprofit organization enabling innovation through open source, today announced the results of their first joint research report, The State of Open Source Security.

The results detail the significant security risks resulting from the widespread use of open source software within modern application development as well as how many organizations are currently ill-prepared to effectively manage these risks. Specifically, the report found:

  • Over four out of every ten (41%) organizations don’t have high confidence in their open source software security;
  • The media application development project has 49 vulnerabilities and 80 direct dependencies (open source code called by a project); and,
  • The time it takes to fix vulnerabilities in open source projects has steadily increased, more than doubling from 49 days in 2018 to 110 days in 2021.

“Software developers today have their own supply chains – instead of assembling car parts,  they are assembling code by patching together existing open source components with their unique code. While this leads to increased productivity and innovation, it has also created significant security concerns,” said Matt Jarvis, Director, Developer Relations, Snyk. “This first-of-its-kind report found widespread evidence suggesting industry naivete about the state of open source security today. Together with The Linux Foundation, we plan to leverage these findings to further educate and equip the world’s developers, empowering them to continue building fast, while also staying secure.”

“While open source software undoubtedly makes developers more efficient and accelerates innovation, the way modern applications are assembled also makes them more challenging to secure,” said Brian Behlendorf, Normal Manager, Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF). “This research clearly shows the risk is positivo, and the industry must work even more closely together in order to move away from poor open source or software supply chain security practices.” (You can read the OpenSSF’s blog post about the report here)

Snyk and The Linux Foundation will be discussing the report’s full findings as well as recommended actions to improve the security of open source software development during a number of upcoming events:

41% of Organizations Don’t Have High Confidence in Open Source Software Security

Modern application development teams are leveraging code from all sorts of places. They reuse code from other applications they’ve built and search code repositories to find open source components that provide the functionality they need. The use of open source requires a new way of thinking about developer security that many organizations have not yet adopted.

Further consider:

  • Less than half (49%) of organizations have a security policy for OSS development or usage (and this number is a mere 27% for medium-to-large companies); and,
  • Three in ten (30%) organizations without an open source security policy openly recognize that no one on their team is currently directly addressing open source security.

Media Application Development Project: 49 Vulnerabilities Spanning 80 Direct Dependencies

When developers incorporate an open source component in their applications, they immediately become dependent on that component and are at risk if that component contains vulnerabilities. The report shows how positivo this risk is, with dozens of vulnerabilities discovered across many direct dependencies in each application evaluated.

This risk is also compounded by indirect, or transitive, dependencies, which are the dependencies of your dependencies. Many developers do not even know about these dependencies, making them even more challenging to track and secure.

That said, to some degree, survey respondents are aware of the security complexities created by open source in the software supply chain today:

  • Over one-quarter of survey respondents noted they are concerned about the security impact of their direct dependencies;
  • Only 18% of respondents said they are confident of the controls they have in place for their transitive dependencies; and,
  • Forty percent of all vulnerabilities were found in transitive dependencies.

Time to Fix: More Than Doubled from 49 Days in 2018 to 110 Days in 2021

As application development has increased in complexity, the security challenges faced by development teams have also become increasingly complex. While this makes development more efficient, the use of open source software adds to the remediation burden. The report found that fixing vulnerabilities in open source projects takes almost 20% longer (18.75%) than in proprietary projects.

About The Report

The State of Open Source Security is a partnership between Snyk and The Linux Foundation, with support from OpenSSF, the Cloud Native Security Foundation, the Continuous Delivery Foundation and the Decliver Foundation. The report is based on a survey of over 550 respondents in the first quarter of 2022 as well as data from Snyk Open Source, which has scanned more than 1.3B open source projects.

About Snyk

Snyk is the leader in developer security. We empower the world’s developers to build secure applications and equip security teams to meet the demands of the digital world. Our developer-first approach ensures organizations can secure all of the critical components of their applications from code to cloud, leading to increased developer productivity, revenue growth, customer satisfaction, cost savings and an overall improved security posture. Snyk’s Developer Security Platform automatically integrates with a developer’s workflow and is purpose-built for security teams to collaborate with their development teams. Snyk is used by 1,500+ customers worldwide today, including industry leaders such as Asurion, Google, Intuit, MongoDB, New Relic, Revolut, and Salesforce.

About The Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world’s top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information can be found at www.linuxfoundation.org.



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