Security Experts:

Commercial Code More Security Compliant Than Open Source Code: Report

Commercial source code is more compliant with security standards than open source code, according to the 2014 Coverity Scan Open Source Report published on Wednesday by Synopsys.

Based on the analysis of more than 10 billion lines of code from thousands of open source and commercial products, experts have determined that while open source projects are doing a better job at addressing quality and security issues, enterprises take the lead when it comes to complying with security standards such as OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) Top 10 and CWE (Common Weakness Enumeration) 25.

According to Synopsys, open source software has a defect density of 0.61 defects per 1,000 lines of code. In comparison, commercial software has a defect density of 0.76. The report shows that the defect densities of both types of software have improved in 2014 compared to the previous year.

When it comes to security compliance, the Coverity Scan Open Source Report shows that commercial software is significantly more secure than open source software. Experts noticed that enterprises patch vulnerabilities at a faster pace compared to open source projects, which suggests that commercial software developers are driven by compliance and policy to address security flaws.

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Top 10 is a list of the most serious vulnerabilities plaguing web applications. Experts have determined that commercial web applications are significantly more compliant with OWASP Top 10 than open source software. While the defect density in the case of open source software is 8.61 OWASP Top 10 flaws per 100,000 lines of code, the defect density is only 0.56 per 100,000 lines of code in the case of commercial software.

Synopsys believes both open source and commercial software are improving, but in different ways.

“Open source software is becoming more feature-rich, getting better compared to previous versions of itself. What drives development work for open source projects is people needing the software to do certain things. Therefore, adding features takes precedence over bug fixing,” Synopsys said in its report. “Commercial software is becoming more stable and secure based on compliance standards. Commercial development is driven by competition and compliance to industry standards, which puts a higher priority on stability, security and bug fixing.”

The full 2014 Coverity Scan Report is available online.

view counter
Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at 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.