5 Things to Know about Software Composition Analysis to Get Started

In today’s digital era, software applications form an essential part of devices, and the daily lives of people and businesses. Therefore, these applications need to be fast, reliable, secure, and flexible. 

To develop such robust applications, developers often use open source code to add different functionalities into their applications. They form about 80% of an application’s code. However, sometimes, these open source codes may have security flaws and risks that need to be solved before they can be integrated into applications. 

To solve this issue, developers use software composition analysis, Software composition analysis (SCA) is a methodology used by application security tools for managing security risks while integrating and working with open source components.

This article discusses the things that should be considered by developers while performing software composition analysis.

Reporting and License Compliance 

The first step in SCA should generally be scanning all the components present in a project and generating a detailed inventory of the open source components along with all their transitive dependencies and libraries. A detailed report of all the components within the project plays a key role in managing open source code within an application and securing the application from the vulnerabilities within these codes. 

The report should also include details about the licenses, dependency requirements, and compatibility with the organization’s policies, all of which helps you decide if any modification of the application is required or not.

Identifying Vulnerabilities

Vulnerabilities present in an application pose a threat to the organization. So they should be identified and solved as soon as possible. Large application projects consisting of different dependencies, libraries, and log files often have different vulnerabilities that should be solved. 

SCA tools should be able to identify, track, and solve any known and unknown security threats in the application as these threats plays a crucial role in the application as well as the organization’s success.

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Automatic Scans and Alerts

The SCA market has grown by 20.9% in the last 3 years and SCA and risk management tools are prominent within it. These tools focus on managing open source components and fixing vulnerabilities. A good SCA tool should have an option for scheduling automated scans at regular intervals and provide alerts about the risks and flaws present in the open source components along with different methods to fix the security issues.

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Prioritization and Rectification

Most SCA tools are also able to rectify issues along with detecting them. A good SCA tool should be able to prioritize the various vulnerabilities present in the open source components since an application might have many different vulnerabilities, some high risk and others relatively low risk that can be ignored for some time if they aren’t causing any direct harm to the security of the application. 

If developers have to manually identify which vulnerabilities pose a high risk it will take up a huge amount of time. So, a good SCA tool should be able to do this for you so that you can focus on solving the vulnerabilities.

Integration

A developer interacts with different programming languages, frameworks, dependencies and applications in their day-to-day activities. It is essential for developers to select an SCA tool that can easily be integrated within the different development environments at each stage of the SDLC

Nowadays, Kubernetes containers are also widely used in organizations, and security remains the major concern while using them. An SCA tool should be able to scan from these containers and identify the risks and compliance issues.

Conclusion

With the rising adoption of open source resources there has also been an increase in cyber attacks and breaches and this increase is expected to continue. 

Open source plays a key role in developing large applications and, in the technical world, most organizations use these open source resources to improve their existing technology and compete with each other in the market. However, it is important to be careful while using open source components as they may have security threats. These threats and issues can be solved with the use of SCA.

PKI-Security Engineer & security blogger at gbhackers.com. She is passionate about covering cybersecurity and Technology.

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