LinuxCon: CII Program Will Give Badges to Open Source Projects With Strong Security

August 20, 2015 @ 11:31 AM
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2 min read

Open source projects have gotten a bad rap in security circles thanks to Heartbleed, Shellshock and other flaws, but an industry consortium may change that by offering a badge to recognize stability and quality.

Amid this week’s LinuxCon in Seattle, SecurityWeek reported that the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), which funds open source projects, will give the badge to those that meet a set of standard criteria. This includes an established bug reporting process, an automated test suite, vulnerability response processes and patching processes. A self-assessment will determine whether the project owners merit the badge.

Of course, a badge program won’t change much if it doesn’t have credibility. That’s why, according to SiliconANGLE, the CII has requested the open source community weigh in on what should be included in the standards of excellence that the badge will represent. It’s also a healthy sign that prominent experts in cryptography and other areas of the security industry have recently joined the CII.

To some extent, there will be a lot riding on the success or failure of the badge program. As eWEEK pointed out, the CII only came into existence through the Linux Foundation following Heartbleed, the flaw in OpenSSL that threatened countless organizations around the world. But its current efforts could provide wayS for those involved in this community to effectively police themselves and perhaps restore the credibility of open source projects as being fit for use in the enterprise.

Naturally, the security badge program isn’t guaranteed to prevent the next Heartbleed or Bash bug. Instead, experts told ZDNet the CII’s efforts are more about educating developers of open source projects to aim higher in terms of their security practices. At the very least, they should demonstrate that when the worst happens, there will be some way of addressing flaws quickly.

Enterprise Tech said that the security badge program isn’t the only way the CII is hoping to make open source projects more proactive about security. The group is considering the introduction of a fellowship program focused on modeling security threats, as well as bringing on someone to oversee audits of coding practices that could put users at risk.

Shane Schick
Writer & Editor
Shane Schick is a contributor for SecurityIntelligence.