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Open source security: opportunity or oxymoron?

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As the computer industry focuses on system and network security, a growing number of users are taking a closer look at open source software in order to gauge whether its potential advantages outweigh its possible disadvantages. Although open source security has been around for years, it has never been as widely used as open source products like the Linux OS or Apache Web server have been. John Pescatore, Internet security research director at market-research firm Gartner Inc., said open source security tools now represent 3 to 5 percent of security-software usage but could comprise 10 to 15 percent by 2007. A key factor in this potential growth is the quality of numerous open source security packages. Open source software products include free tools that users can download from the Internet, packages that come with commercial vendor support, and tools bundled with closed source products. The most popular tools include Netfilter and iptables; intrusion-detection systems such as Snort, Snare, and Tripwire; vulnerability scanners like Nessus and Saint; authentication servers such as Kerberos; and firewalls like T.Rex. Some companies are even beginning to use open source security to protect mission-critical applications

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:35 ,  Issue: 3 )