Checking GitHub Before You Use Any Software From There

If you are programmer there is a good chance that you have heard of Github. And if you are not a programmer but someone who is in the tech world, there is still a good chance that you have heard of the service. It has been a service that has steadily been growing for the past couple of years. And it does not look like it is going to slow down anytime soon. When you are looking for an open source project that will help you take care of your needs then you can take a look at Github. It has become the main place for open source projects to host their files.

github

The reason why Github is so popular is because it is a place that allows you to easily use the Git software for hosting purposes. If you do not know already, Git is a type of version control software. Version control software means that you are able to type different versions of the software that you are creating and it will track it for you. When you decide which version of the software that you want to use you can merge them together. It will alert you of any conflicts that might appear but after everything is merged together you have software that is either ready to compile or ready to use right off of the bat. And Github lets you host this software on the web so you have a backup of everything that you make.

If you take a look at Github you will notice that it is more of a social hub than just a place where you can host software. On there people will follow other people and see what they are doing with the software that they are creating. And not only can you follow your favorite software projects you can also contribute if you want to. And the best thing is that you do not have to be a programmer to be able to contribute to your favorite projects. While it does help there are a lot of other things you can do to be helpful. You can write documentation, test, and a whole host of other things.

Since there is a lot of software projects hosted on there, that also means that there is also both good guys and bad guys who are attracted to the place. Most of the black hat hackers on the internet are programmers as well and so when they are not committing crimes they want to hang out with other programmers. So they will do what the normal programmers will do and contribute in the same way. But sometimes there are black hat hackers who will go beyond just using the site as a social center. Sometimes their instincts take over and they use the site for more devious means.

The main way that black hat hackers abuse all of the good that goes on in a site like Github is using it to study other projects. Now usually there is nothing wrong with studying other projects but there is something wrong when you are studying these other projects so that you can launch an attack. They are either using a piece of software’s code so that they can study a particular technique or they are planning to attack that software itself.

There have been attacks launched against Github itself that has caused it some downtime. But overall the site itself is pretty safe place for you to host your code. But if you want to host your code publicly on Github you have to remember that you are giving the bad guys a chance to study it too.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. I hate these articles, don’t get me wrong you make a valid point. However, the article could confuse non technical people into thinking this problem is specific to GitHub. The reality is that any opensource project is going to have this issue, regardless of the hosting platform.

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