A Warning To Software Founders: The Risks Of Open Source Code



Software development has witnessed a surge in the use of open source code, giving developers access to a vast array of pre-existing code that can significantly enhance the speed and efficiency of their builds. However, a recent study conducted by Synopsys Software Integrity Group has uncovered a concerning trend – open source code poses more security risks than ever before. In fact, many businesses remain unaware of the potential vulnerabilities lurking within their own code.

Key Takeaway

Open source code presents a double-edged sword for software startups – it offers efficiency and effectiveness but also introduces inherent risks. Startups must prioritize proper management and vetting of open source components to mitigate these risks.

The Rising Risks

The study revealed a staggering increase in high-risk open source vulnerabilities over the past five years, particularly in the retail and e-commerce sectors, with a remarkable 557% rise. Alarming as this may be, the lack of security patching and maintenance in project dependencies is equally concerning, with a whopping 91% of projects relying on outdated open source components.

Lean Teams and Tightening Pockets

In today’s challenging economic landscape, startups, in particular, are facing increased pressure to deliver software at an accelerated pace while operating with lean teams and limited resources. Oftentimes, the allure of open source code becomes irresistible, given its efficiency and effectiveness. However, founders must be aware that this approach can backfire if not accompanied by proper management and security measures.

Choosing Wisely

When it comes to sourcing code, founders should prioritize established and reputable open source communities. Opting for well-known code platforms such as GitHub and GitLab can provide valuable visibility and metrics for evaluating the security and quality of projects. These platforms allow users to assess development and commit activity, review the profiles of project owners and maintainers, and make informed decisions regarding the code they choose to incorporate.

By avoiding blindly downloading packages from unknown sources, startups can significantly reduce the risk of incorporating vulnerable or malicious code into their software projects. The added advantage is that these trustworthy platforms are free, ensuring both quality and cost-effectiveness.


As the use of open source code becomes increasingly prevalent in the software development landscape, software founders must navigate the risks associated with it. By prioritizing proper management and vetting of open source components, startups can strike a balance between harnessing the benefits of open source code and safeguarding their software from potential vulnerabilities. Remember, while every company is a software company, not every code repository is equally reliable.

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