One of the most interesting advancements that we have seen in the last several years when it comes to computing is the growth of the open source movement.
We now have hundreds of projects out there that allow people to collaborate their knowledge with others from around the world so that they can fill a personal need that others have as well.
But for as many advancements that we have made with the open source movement, as with anything else there is a bad side as well.
While with the open source movement we have a chance to look at the code of the project to make sure that nothing is amiss, it is also gives the bad guys a chance to analyze and add extra code to the projects as well.
When you give the bad guys this much information to a tool that you may use for your own personal project then trouble can be not far behind.
With the power of being able to look at the source code, a black hat hacker can easily slip in a back door to be able to access your system later on.
Why Do People Still Use Open Source Software?
You may think that leaving yourself wide open to the bad guys is not worth the price when it comes to open source software.
If you have a business that deals with real people their financial information is in your hands.
You do not want to lose the trust of your customers because you decided to pick a piece of software because it was cheaper.
But there is a good reason why people still use open source software for their software projects.
It is safe even though the bad guys can see the source code.
How does that work you might be wondering?
It works because while the bad guys may be able to see the source code for the software, the good guys can too.
When it comes to proprietary software, the bad guys can find holes in the software as well, just not as easily as they can when they have access to the direct source code.
When they do find the hole in the proprietary software it is up to the company that made the software to fix it.
You are at their mercy as to when the hole becomes fixed.
And that is if they even fix it at all.
There are some holes that the software company will consider minor and they will not fix it at all.
With an open source project that has several contributors that for the most part will not happen.
People who use and contribute to open source projects are very concerned about the security of the software that they use.
They want to make sure that there are no spots in the software that will leave them vulnerable.
Open source communities tend to fix holes in their software quicker than their closed source alternatives.
And the best part about open source software is if no one wants to fix the hole that might be in the software; you can either do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you.
That way your needs are solved when you need them to be.
So If There Is A Back Door In The Software…
So if a bad guy hacker is able to get a back door in an open source project then there are going to be a lot more eyes to find it.
Since you or the person that you hire has the ability to see the source code, they will be able to determine if there is a back door in the software and get it out.
There are several steps that you can take to make sure that you avoid all of the pitfalls that you could encounter with open source software.
None of these are fool proof but they are a big help.
The first thing that you can do is to make sure that you choose an open source project that has many active contributors.
The one thing that you will find is that there are a lot of different versions of similar software projects.
Some of these projects are dead so make sure that you choose one that is not.
This will make sure that security is kept up to par.
And that also follows for step two.
Make sure that the community that you are a part of takes care of the house keeping with their software.
Some people think that fixing bugs in the software is boring.
Make sure that they actively take care of that.
If you follow these steps then you can safely use open source software for your next project.