Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Frank Lupo

Related Topics: Linux Containers, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Open Source Cloud, Eclipse, Agile Computing

Linux Containers: Article

What Developers Need to Know About Open Source Vulnerability Management

As a resourceful developer, you’re not writing code from scratch anymore

As a resourceful developer, you're not writing code from scratch anymore. You probably have access to a vast amount of code you wrote at previous jobs, and a lot of your development probably relies at least in some part around third party or open source software. Every savvy developer knows their way around Sourceforge, Codeplex, or GitHub, and with access to readily available code that frees you up to tackle real challenges, there really is no downside to open source code.

Sure, you're probably aware that many open source projects have license obligations tied to them. And licenses are not generally written for developer consumption, so you may be part of a growing contingent of developers that doesn't care about them, but it's likely that your manager cares.

With the increasing complexity of software, organizations are more cognizant than ever about the potential pitfalls of including open source code in their products. Below are some quick tips to continue leveraging open source code, while keeping your manager and legal department happy.

1. Know What to Look For
Security and licensing (i.e., the specific permission of the original author of the open source code) are the two potential vulnerabilities that concern organizations the most. Depending on the type of business, export controls may also be on the radar. But for now we'll focus on the biggest two:

Security Vulnerabilities
Security vulnerabilities exist in both open source and proprietary software. And the exposure of the Heartbleed bug earlier this year illustrated how much heartache these issues can inflict. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. When choosing an open source project, do some research to try and discern if there have been reports of any vulnerability in the code (the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) is a great resource for this).

  2. Always use the most recent version of a project (and preferably one that is actively maintained).

  3. Download projects from a reputable source such as the project's website, or a trustworthy code repository.

License Vulnerabilities
An open source license is the way the code author grants usage permission to the world at large, and dictates the terms under which the license can be used. Open source licenses generally fit into two categories: permissive and restrictive licenses. Permissive licenses such as MIT, BSD, or Apache generally have fewer restrictions on the redistribution of software. Restrictive or copyleft licenses, such as the GPL, place more restrictions on redistribution (e.g. asking you to contribute your derivative work to the open source community) and may require your work to be licensed under the GPL. You can speak to your organization's legal department for a crash course on different license types and what licenses are permitted in your organization, or take a look at various summaries available online.

Before incorporating an open source component in your project it's a good idea to take a look at what (if any) license terms are attached to it. This information can typically be found in a file called COPYING, license.txt or even in a readme file.

Here are three possible licensing scenarios you could encounter when using open source code:

  1. There is no license information available - you should probably avoid using these types of projects as they can cause all sorts of legal headaches for your organization.

  2. There is copyright information, but no license file - in this case, you will need to track down the creator(s) of the project and obtain their consent to use the code. This defeats the time-saving argument for using open source in the first place.

  3. The project has an explicit license - so the project is fair game right? Not so fast. You need to ensure that the license is acceptable for use in your organization. This brings me to the next point...

2. Know Your Boundaries
As open source has moved into the mainstream, many organizations have established formal policies and approval processes around the use of open source code. An open source policy establishes:

  1. Who the stakeholders are.

  2. What licenses are acceptable in an organization.

  3. Which vendors are approved.

  4. Whether or not you need to pre-approve an open source package before you use it.

  5. The steps to take once a policy violation has been detected.

If your organization does not have a formal policy in place, talk to your managers or legal department to see if any license types are off limits, or to find out if there is an existing list of pre-approved packages.

3. Know How to React
Equipped with some research on open source licensing and security vulnerabilities it's now time to decide what to do with this information. Here are a few options:

Do nothing. Use whatever open source packages you want and hope for the best. Quality assurance and legal teams will dislike you. You'll probably create more work for yourself by having to fix issues uncovered during testing, and repeat offenders should probably make sure their resumes and GitHub profiles are up to date, just in case.

Manually track open source packages. You'll be creating a little more work for yourself, but your managers will thank you. Check to make sure that the packages you are using have a license and that the license complies with your organization's policy. Consult the NVD to make sure the package doesn't contain security vulnerabilities. Make sure you commit this information along with your code.

Automate the tracking process. There are various tools available to automate open source package pre-approval and there are even background developer assistant tools that can automatically report on licensing and security issues as code is being developed. These tools can be digitally linked to the organization's policy as well as the NVD to accurately detect license and security vulnerabilities in real time.

By taking a proactive approach and getting involved in open source vulnerability management, you'll save yourself and your organization as a whole from running into roadblocks that stall the development process. Find out if your organization has a license policy and implement some vulnerability management tactics and start developing code worry free.

More Stories By Lacey Thoms

Lacey Thoms is a marketing specialist and blogger at Protecode, a provider of open source license management solutions. During her time at Protecode, Lacey has written many articles on open source software management. She has a background in marketing communications, digital advertising, and web design and development. Lacey has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications from Carleton University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nihon Micron will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nihon Micron Co., Ltd. strives for technological innovation to establish high-density, high-precision processing technology for providing printed circuit board and metal mount RFID tags used for communication devices. For more inf...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...