September 19, 2004

Open Source Security: Still a Myth?

On Valentines Day of this year I posted an entry I called Shattering the crystal and poking holes in the black box in which I discussed open vs closed security. I followed that up in April with some more information on what some other people were saying about Open Source vs. Closed Source Security. I had some interesting discussions in my comments in both of my posts; there was a lot of polarity around the subject.

Well over the weekend it seems John posted a great article entitled Open Source Security: Still a Myth .

He has the same views that I have on the subject. And his article is a great read. He sums up point for point what I have been saying for years. In the end it doesn't matter if open source systems tend to be more secure than proprietary systems, because on the whole they aren't yet coming close to being "secure enough."

I highly suggest you check out his article!

Posted by SilverStr at September 19, 2004 04:17 PM | TrackBack

It was an interesting article yes, but I do have to say that for 'years' you've been saying the exact opposite, that OSS is more secure, blackbox == bad, crystalbox == good, etc etc. That was before your recent revelations though :)

Posted by: Arcterex at September 20, 2004 10:17 AM

Thats not quite right Arc. I have always contended that OSS COULD be more secure, and that as an only line of defense, blackbox == bad.

However the position of black vs crystal box security, BY ITSELF, is moot. That's because I don't think it matters. The point shouldn't be if access to source code is the issue. It should be about the design and audit practices that are applied to the code base. When the code is incorrect, you canít really talk about security. When the code is faulty, it cannot be safe. When code isn't audited, you will never be able to know the difference.

Just because you CAN audit open source, doesn't mean it typically is. In the last couple of years I came to realize that. You can call it a revelation if you like; I just call it maturing in my understanding of the world of secure software engineering.

Posted by: SilverStr at September 20, 2004 10:52 AM