There's been a huge rise in open-source cyberattacks

A hand writing the words Open Source
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Cybercriminals are capitalizing on the fact that an increasing number of companies rely on open-source code repositories to build out their software solutions, new research has claimed. 

In the last three years, the number of compromised packages, typosquatting attacks on such platforms, and similar cyberattacks, has skyrocketed - according to a new report from software supply chain management service provider, Sonatype. 

By using its repository Firewall, the company identified more than 55,000 newly published malicious packages, in the last year alone, and almost 95,000, in the last three years. That brings it up to an average 700% jump in 36 months. 

Automating analysis

“Almost every modern business relies on open source. Clearly, the use of open source repositories as an entry point for malicious attacks shows no signs of slowing down–making the early detection of both known and unknown security vulnerabilities more important than ever,” said Brian Fox, co-founder and CTO of Sonatype. 

“Stopping malicious components before they come in the door is a fundamental element of risk prevention and should be a part of every conversation around protecting software supply chains.”

By combining behavioral analysis and automated policy enforcement, the company continuously detects and blocks malicious packages, as well as potentially vulnerable components, it says. Furthermore, it uses AI to evaluate every newly-released open-source software component, to determine if there are any threats. It claims that with the sudden rise in open-source, manual analysis is virtually impossible. 

What’s more, it doesn’t even matter if the company uses the malicious component in the final product, or not. If it’s downloaded on their endpoints, it’s already too late, the company says. 

“The volume, frequency, severity, and sophistication of malicious cyberattacks continue to increase. Organizations can’t–and shouldn’t–avoid the use of open source just to protect themselves,” Fox added. “But they can use preventative tools–such as the Sonatype Firewall–to keep developers on track and software supply chains secure.”

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.