Open Source Components Fail to Receive Suitable Security Attention
Less than 25 percent of developers test components for vulnerabilities at every release
April 12, 2018

Pete Chestna
CA Veracode

Only 52 percent of developers using commercial or open source components in their applications update those components when a new security vulnerability is announced, according to new research conducted by Vanson Bourne for CA Veracode, part of CA Technologies. This highlights organizations' lack of security awareness and puts organizations at risk of a breach.


Software development processes like DevSecOps have helped improve the security of the code developers write. However, these same development processes value speed and efficiency to keep up with the demands of the application economy. As a result, developers rely on components that borrow features and functionality from existing projects and libraries. The research shows that 83 percent of respondents use either or both commercial and open source components, with an average of 73 components being used per application.

While components boost developers’ efficiency, and their use is considered a best practice, these components come with inherent security risks. Despite finding an average of 71 vulnerabilities per application introduced through the use of third-party components, only 23 percent of respondents reported testing for vulnerabilities in components at every release. This may be a result of only 71 percent of organizations reporting to having a formal application security (AppSec) program in place.

What’s more, only 53 percent of organizations keep an inventory of all components in their applications. According to The State of Software Security Report 2017 (SOSS), fewer than 28 percent of companies conduct regular composition analysis to understand which components are built into their applications.

This report shows that development (44 percent) or security (31 percent) teams are most likely to be responsible for the maintenance of third-party commercial and open source components, which suggests a move towards responsibility for the development team. As awareness around open source risk continues to grow, providing developers with the solutions, education and visibility to mitigate risk becomes a critical component to the Modern Software Factory approach to development that helps to build better, more secure, apps faster.

We know that developers care about creating great code, and that means creating secure code. In order to be successful, developers need to have clarity on the security policy and the tools to measure against it. When the goal is clear and we give developers access to those tools, they are able to integrate scanning earlier into the SDLC and make informed decisions that take security into consideration. Through this, we see a marked improvement in secure software development and the resulting outcomes.

Methodology: CA Veracode commissioned Vanson Bourne to survey 400 application developers from the U.S. (200 respondents), UK (100 respondents), and Germany (100 respondents) to understand the maturity of organizations’ component security. Polling was conducted online in February of 2018.

Pete Chestna is Director of Developer Engagement at CA Veracode

The Latest

May 22, 2018

DEVOPSdigest asked experts from across the IT industry for their opinions on the top tools to support DevSecOps. Part 2 covers DevOps and development ...

May 21, 2018

While DevSecOps, much like DevOps itself, is more about changing IT culture than employing certain types of technology, some tools can be an important support. To find out what the right tools are, APMdigest asked experts from across the IT industry for their opinions on the top tools to support DevSecOps. Part 1 covers the testing phase ...

May 17, 2018

The top two business priorities for CIOs of midsize enterprises (MSEs) in 2018 are growth and digital transformation. However, 57 per cent of MSEs are not yet delivering digital initiatives, according to findings from Gartner Inc.'s 2018 CIO Agenda Survey ...

May 15, 2018

Almost every company is facing the challenge of digital transformation today. This means rethinking and retooling your company to compete and succeed in an increasingly digital world. While digital transformation is not only about technology, the right tools can help. To find out what these right tools are, APMdigest asked experts from across the IT industry for their opinions on the essential tools to support digital transformation ...

May 08, 2018

With data breaches consistently being in the news over the last several years, it is no wonder why data privacy has become such a hot topic and why the European Union (EU) has put in place General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will become enforceable on May 25, 2018, which is less than a month away ...

May 03, 2018

The prospect of increased workloads, combined with shrinking mainframe skillsets, has huge implications for mainframe DevOps. The only way for organizations to solve this skills gap crisis is by optimizing developer productivity. Drilling down a level further, what does this all mean for mainframe DevOps? ...

May 02, 2018

When it comes to operations and development, DevOps has changed the traditional compartmentalized style of development by eliminating silos. But what about the security team? Security is largely still siloed from operations and development. No doubt, many DevOps teams have some security controls baked into their automation processes, but a recent survey shows there are still alarming gaps ...

April 30, 2018

According to the 2018 Global Security Trends in the Cloud report, 93 percent of respondents faced challenges when deploying their current on-premises security tools in the cloud, and 97 percent lacked the tools, cross-functional collaboration and resources to gain proper insight into security across the organization. These numbers indicate a big problem in DevSecOps that needs to be addressed ...

April 26, 2018

Moving more workloads to the cloud is a top IT priority, so eventually it will be time to consider how to make those critical legacy applications cloud ready. In Part 1 of this blog, I outlined the first four of eight steps to chart your cloud journey. In addition, consider the next four steps below ...

April 25, 2018

Clearly, moving applications to the cloud delivers significant advantages. So what's standing in the way of full cloud adoption? For many companies it's those burdensome (but critically important) legacy applications. Moving more workloads to the cloud is a top IT priority. So, eventually it will be time to consider how to make those critical legacy applications cloud ready. Consider the following eight steps to chart your cloud journey ...

Share this