Open-source software is everywhere, as companies like Apache, Linux, PHP, and Mozilla have brought it mainstream through their operating systems, application infrastructure, development tools, and web browsers. Its usage remains somewhat rare as a defense mechanism in the cybersecurity space, though, as industry professionals typically use open source to find weaknesses in their existing software.
Open-source cybersecurity software is becoming more prevalent, however, as select companies create frameworks or programs to address specific problems and then publish the code. The result could be a more robust and responsive cybersecurity industry. This guide explains the benefits of open-source cybersecurity and examines some databases and software options on the market.
What Is Open-Source Cybersecurity Software?
“Open source” refers to software for which the developers make the source code accessible – so anyone can share it and make modifications. Programmers can then make changes to this code as they see fit, potentially addressing cybersecurity concerns before the software developer even realizes there’s a problem.
Giving organizations access to open-source code makes it easier for their security teams to improve or alter the software to meet the company’s needs. The main drawback is that cybercriminals also have access to this code, so they can use it to develop ransomware and viruses that bypass the code.
Why Open-Source Cybersecurity Is Beneficial
Open-source cybersecurity software offers some clear benefits over traditional security options. Learning about these advantages could push companies of all sizes to adopt open-source software. Reasons enterprises might go with an open-source option include the following:
Organizations with an internal cybersecurity development team benefit from open-source code because it provides a starting point from which developers can build applications more rapidly. The result is shorter release cycles and businesses with better protection in the ever-changing cybersecurity environment.
Access to the Latest Improvements
About 69% of chief information security officers (CISOs) from Fortune 1000 companies believe open-source security solutions are a quicker way to secure organizational assets. Roughly 78% of these CISOs believe open source provides the industry’s best innovations.
Open source lowers costs for small businesses by eliminating expensive licensing fees that other cybersecurity software might bring. These same programs might have premium versions with additional support for larger corporations, as well.
Better Security for Smaller Businesses
Small businesses can also take advantage of the increased levels of security many of these platforms provide. These companies are less likely to have on-site security teams, so having access to an open-source solution could be invaluable.
Open-source software allows organizations to add features as needed, so they don’t have to wait for vendors to answer their requests. They can also collaborate with other companies in their industry to create more robust solutions that keep everyone safe.
Open-source cybersecurity software benefits companies of all sizes because of its adaptability. There are multiple examples of this that software organizations should learn about so their security teams have numerous options when developing solutions.
7 Open-Source Security Examples You Should Know About
You can typically download open-source security software and access its source code through the developer’s official website. This access allows you to use the program for free (or for a fee, in some cases) and alter the code as you see fit.
Some security solutions aren’t software at all but rather open-source databases to which anyone can contribute. Examples of open-source security solutions include:
1. MITRE ATT&CK
Nonprofit MITRE Corporation is well-known in the cybersecurity space because of its open-source ATT&CK database. ATT&CK is a framework covering the technique, tactics, and procedures hackers use daily, and the information provided helps close vulnerabilities. This framework is considered the gold standard in the industry because this data does organizations a lot of good.
The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, is a government agency with an open-source database called AIS, or Automated Indicator Sharing. The gist is that this database allows for the real-time exchange of cyber threat indicators, reducing the prevalence and significance of cyber attacks. There’s no cost to participate in CISA, and the information an organization receives through this program is very valuable.
MISP is an open-source intelligence and sharing platform that allows users to share threats in real time. Sharing this information helps security teams respond to threats immediately. MISP software includes a dashboard, so users can visualize threats as the data arrives.
Tripwire is an open-source cybersecurity company offering an intrusion detection and prevention system. The program is scalable, flexible, and reliable, and support is available through a large GitHub community. The program’s source code is available to organizations, so they can integrate it with the rest of their cybersecurity software and create custom edits.
OSSEC provides intrusion detection for companies of all sizes. It accomplishes this by checking all local computing systems and incoming network packets for potential threats. The program has a reliable community, a Slack channel, and a mailing list, and it can link with other tools.
OpenIAM is an open-source access and identity management solution. This product can be used on both cloud and on-site systems, and users can integrate it with their existing tools through OpenID Connect workflows.
7. AlienVault OSSIM
One of the best-known cybersecurity software solutions is AlienVault OSSIM. AT&T acquired it in 2018, but the program remains open source. Its open-source security information and event management is a powerful tool thousands of security professionals worldwide use and contribute to when necessary.
These open-source solutions are popular with organizations and their security teams because of the threat-detection capabilities and other information they provide. Understanding how developers grow their companies through these open-source products can assist startups in creating a plan.
Invest in Cybersecurity Software
Most of the software on this list has free and paid versions, with corporations typically opting for upgraded software with additional support. Having multiple products allows developers and their investors to turn a profit while using the community at large to continue developing the product. The result is some intriguing investment opportunities.
Option3 helps bring cybersecurity startups and investors together so they can serve the community and grow the company. The result is a more robust cybersecurity ecosystem and startups that make fundamental contributions while providing value to investors. Contact Option3 for more information on cybersecurity investing.