Security tools are an essential part of software development today, especially with the ever-increasing number of attacks we see every year. According to Check Point Research, we saw 50% more attacks per week on corporate networks than the previous year. Therefore, utilising open source security tools can be a massive benefit to any organisation.
Open-source software (OSS) is one of the primary reasons development has sped up so much over the last decade, primarily due to its transparency and collaborative nature. These readily-available tools allow organisations to rapidly build tools and applications thanks to their accessibility, and are generally free to use.
This ease of access also applies to security tools, as there will always be a need to keep applications secure. The additional benefit of using open source security software is that it allows teams to implement security features that can work directly for their needs.
There are a few key benefits to utilising open source security tools, such as:
The majority of OSS is entirely free, meaning that organisations don’t need to increase their development costs to keep software secure.
Because these tools are open source, developers can customise the code to meet their specific needs. If an organisation needs to piecemeal out parts of a tool for their needs or modify it to incorporate another piece of software, it is much easier to do with OSS.
Unlike corporate solutions, in most cases, OSS is maintained by anyone who wants to contribute. This allows the software to make continuous updates over time, as anyone can add improvements.
OSS is primarily a driving force of software made by developers, for developers, meaning that the tools they make prioritise the user’s experience. Tools like these are often incredibly accessible or have thorough documentation.
The world of cybersecurity is vast, and the array of tools can cover almost any use case you can think of. Here are a few examples:
There are a number of Linux-based operating systems created for security. While most people are aware of Kali Linux’s focus on open source penetration testing tools, there are several others. For example, Security Onion is similar to Kali but focuses more on protection than penetration.
Most organisations tend to use several open source components in their codebases. However, this can quickly become a significant issue in knowing exactly what is being used and how. SCA tools can help monitor these components and more, so that teams can have detailed reports of all dependencies and compliance issues.
To maintain a good defence, you need to be thoroughly vetting your application as if a malicious attacker was present. Penetration tools are popular open source tools because they allow security teams to simulate how an attacker would operate. Security professionals often maintain these tools, too, so they often include good coverage.
Testing your application should always begin as early as possible, and OSS allows you to include it with little to no overhead. Whether you’re looking to implement SAST/DAST tools, monitoring software, or anything else, there's always likely to be an open source solution that matches your requirements.
With plenty of open source security tools out there, we've compiled a list of some of the best of the best:
Created by OWASP, this comprehensive web application testing tool covers all the essential aspects of security. A multi-platform application with an intuitive GUI, Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is entirely free and has become one of the most popular web application testing tools out there.
A Debian-based Linux distribution focused on penetration testing tools, this OS is packed with over 600 programs to use. Security professionals have been praising Kali Linux since its release in 2013, and it continues to be an industry leader.
When it comes to network monitoring, Wireshark is second to none. Their software includes VoIP analysis, support for most popular operating systems, and an intuitive GUI. Wireshark has a dedicated team of developers, educators, and security professionals that maintain and document processes.
Nogotofail was created internally at Google before being released as an open source project. It allows teams to find and fix weak network connections while remaining flexible and scalable. The software is also incredibly lightweight, with only one dependency for the Linux version.
A tool designed to brute force attack web applications, Wfuzz offers various attack vectors for testers to use. On top of exposing vulnerabilities in testing, it also provides an easy-to-use platform with other security tools.
With the growing need for application security, utilising open source security tools is a popular way to keep an organisation’s overheads low. They also allow teams to customise these tools to their exact needs. If your team is looking to expand its security practices or seek out custom solutions, you should have your eyes on the world of OSS.
Uleska helps security and development teams manage application security at scale by automating and orchestrating their preferred security tools within CI/CD.
With Uleska, teams can confidently start an AppSec program using open-source, commercial, and custom tools and then quickly change, add or scale tools as the technology and business needs evolve. Uleska also brings speed and scale when integrating into development tools, and reporting of metrics and risk.
By bringing security, DevOps and development teams together, we help reduce manual tasks so application security takes less time, cost and can scale, allowing teams to focus resources on the issues and metrics that matter.
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