Open source foundations unite on common standards for EU’s Cyber Resilience Act

A developer writing code
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Elle Aon)

The use of open source software tools is becoming increasingly common today, being used to create many of the most popular platforms for businesses across the world.

However this rise has been an issue for regulation such as the EU Cyber Resilience Act (CRA), as open source software is built independently by programmers outside of their usual work, resulting in a lack of proper documentation.

A particular focal point of criticisms against the original draft of the CRA highlighted that software found to be non-compliant with the act that is built using open source components could deter developers from releasing their work in the future.

New legislation set for 2027

Now, the CRA intends to make sure that products that are connected to the internet stay up-to-date with the latest security updates, as many devices are rushed through to release without proper testing, putting customers at risk of potential cyber attacks. As the original CRA did not adequately factor open source software into the product supply chain, which could result in open source developers being held liable for security vulnerabilities in products that use their software.

A group of seven open source foundations have banded together to create more suitable guidelines for open source as part of the supply chain, making changes to guidelines that were included to protect developers who had no financial incentive for releasing their work.

What counted as a financial incentive, or “commercial activity” as the CRA stated, was open to interpretation particularly for developers creating software under a grant or sponsorship. The group of open source foundations has since helped to revise the CRA to establish a specific terminology for those working for not-for-profit organizations or independently without financial incentives as “open source stewards.”

The group of seven organizations includes the Apache Software Foundation, Blender Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, OpenSSL Software Foundation, PHP Foundation, Python Software Foundation, and Rust Foundation.

Speaking on the changes made to the CRA, Eclipse Foundation executive Director Mike Milinkovich told TechCrunch, “In general, we are pleased with the outcome… the process worked, and the open source community was listened to. One of the most interesting aspects of the final regulation is that it recognizes ‘open source software stewards’ as a form of economic actor which are part of the overall software supply chain.”

“This is the first piece of legislation globally that recognizes the role played by foundations and other forms of community stewards.”

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Benedict Collins
Staff Writer (Security)

Benedict Collins is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro covering privacy and security. Benedict is mainly focused on security issues such as phishing, malware, and cyber criminal activity, but also likes to draw on his knowledge of geopolitics and international relations to understand the motivations and consequences of state-sponsored cyber attacks. Benedict has a MA in Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy, alongside a BA in Politics with Journalism, both from the University of Buckingham.