Security Experts:

Netflix Releases Open Source Security Tool "Stethoscope"

Netflix this week released Stethoscope, an open source web application that gives users specific recommendations for securing their computers, smartphones and tablets.

Stethoscope was developed by Netflix as part of its “user focused security” approach, which is based on the theory that it is better to provide employees actionable information and low-friction tools, rather than relying on heavy-handed policy enforcement.

Netflix believes employees are more productive when they don’t have to deal with too many rules and processes. That is why Stethoscope scans their devices and provides recommendations on security measures that should be taken, but allows them to perform the tasks on their own time.

Stethoscope analyzes a device’s disk encryption, firewall, automatic updates, operating system and software updates, screen lock, jailbreaking or rooting, and installed security software. Each of these factors is attributed a rating based on its importance.

Netflix Stethoscope

Stethoscope was developed in Python (backend) and React (frontend), and it does not have its own data store. Data sources are implemented as plugins, allowing users to add new inputs.

For the time being, the application supports LANDESK for Windows computers, JAMF for Macs and Google MDM for mobile devices. However, Netflix wants to extend the list of data sources and Facebook’s Osquery is first on the list.

The modular architecture allows users to add new security checks and other functionality by developing plugins.

The Stethoscope source code, along with instructions for installation and configuration, are available on GitHub. Netflix has invited users to contribute to the tool, particularly with new plugins.

Stethoscope is not the only open source security tool released by Netflix. The company has made available the source code for several of the applications it uses, including the XSS discovery framework Sleepy Puppy, and the threat monitoring tools Scumblr and Sketchy.

Related: Attackers Increasingly Abuse Open Source Security Tools

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Eduard Kovacs is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.