Why Open Source Projects Are Only As Good Or Evil As The Individuals Who Use Them

The one thing that you have to love when it comes to the internet is the way that it has allowed projects to be open and free to everyone.

It is true that there is a lot commerce that is out there but for every project that you have to purchase and is closed source, there are several open sourced implementations of the same type of product.

The open source version of the project may be a better or lesser product but the main point is that you have the choice.

The best part about projects being open like this is that you get a chance to learn from them and see how they were actually created.

You can never work for a big company in your life but you can see how a big project such as these are built and maintained.

open source projects are good; its some of the users that are bad

open source projects are good; its some of the users that are bad

Unfortunately, open sourced does has its dark side as well.

Just like you are able to use and learn from project, bad guys are able to do so as well.

They can turn a perfectly innocent project and twist it so that it has an evil intent.

I will show you three open sourced projects that get used like this all of the time.

Even though this is a problem for open sourced projects, it’s a problem for all software.

Software is a tool and it is up to the person who is running the tool at that moment to decide what they are going to use it for.

It is the same situation as having a car – it can be used to take your wife to the hospital to deliver a baby or it can be used to rob a bank as the getaway car.

So it is not the software that is bad, just how a person uses it.

Apache

The first open source project that I am going to talk about that is used in this manner is Apache.

Apache is a free server that allows people to set up and run web sites on their hardware.

I would guess that the Apache software is set up on over 60% of the web sites on the web.

If you have a web site that is online, there is a good chance that you are running this software as well.

But for as much good that Apache has done, people have used it for many evil deeds as well.

This is the number one server when it comes to launching an attack.

The bad guys are able to use the software to be able to run fake web sites, deliver viruses, and all sorts of mischievous purposes.

WordPress

Another piece of software that I will talk about is WordPress.

This is a piece of software that people use to make blogs.

This software is more in the face of the actual user, so they can see the results first hand.

While people are able to use the software for good, there are some people who use it for bad as well.

They use the software to create fake blogs to fool people.

They also try to install pieces of malware in it to infect a person’s computers when they visit the blog.

Wireshark

And the last open source project that I will talk about is called Wireshark.

This software allows you to analyze data while it is in the air as packets.

While there are many legitimate uses for a tool such as this, many hackers have used it for selfish gains.

These are all tools that can be used for both good and evil but in each case it all depends upon the intent of the individual users.

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.

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  1. […] you purchase the software from someone else or another company then again you are dealing with the good and the bad.The good part about purchasing the software is that you are able to have it right then and […]

  2. […] if the exploits work against it.This tool was first created in 2003 and it started off as a small open source project.When people started to see how it useful it was they attached on and started to add their own […]

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Justin Bellinger, F-Secure UK. F-Secure UK said: Why Open Source Projects Are Only As Good Or Evil As The Individuals Who Use Them by @Security_FAQs http://bit.ly/e5AnjZ […]

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