The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is researching using open-source software as a means for defending government networks for IMB Memory Upgrade. The open-source software can be manipulated to meet government needs without giving up security.
A new five-year, $10 million program aims to survey existing open-source software to find those like Baltimore IT Services that could fill "open security" needs. Called the Homeland Open Security Technology program, or HOST, it also may plant seed investments where needed to inspire innovative solutions that can fill gaps in cybersecurity defenses.
Although this idea is not to be the main solution, it is being seen as a viable option to raise security. Open-source software often gives users the right to change its code to suit their purposes, as well as to share or give away copies. That means the U.S. government could modify such software to suit its cybersecurity needs.
It also means that a federal agency could distribute software copies to all of its 10,000 employees without paying extra licensing fees for electronics such as a Toshiba Hard Drive.
The ultimate goal is for open source and open security to be considered whenever there's a tech solution needed, possible even through IT Services Maryland. They don't want it mandated for the government; they just want a level playing field.
Open-source software allows anyone change the core of the software, but that doesn't make for bad security. On the contrary, having such transparent innards means that a big open-source community of savvy programmers can root out any weaknesses.
Unfortunately, people can put a backdoor or Trojan Horse in just about anything, even possibly Voice Optimized DSL. The open-source model's ability to include transparency in development and maintenance can make it as secure, if not more secure than existing processes.
In fact, more than half of all Internet websites rely upon a popular open-source software product called Apache. That software runs the Web servers that serve as the heart of the Internet.
The open-source perk also means that the U.S. government is not at the mercy of companies that hold the license for proprietary cybersecurity software or a Hosted Voip Call Center. If bugs crop up or an exploiter penetrates the cybersecurity defenses, programmers can dive right into open-source software to fix it.
Many government employees who purchase security software or used HP storage arrays, simply don't realize that open-source choices exist so the HOST program aims to change that.
The Homeland Security effort has already begun comparing existing open-source products with the needs of government users, so that it can decide where to invest seed capital to encourage innovative solutions to meet those needs. But any open-source solutions for cybersecurity must ultimately stand on their own commercial success or they will die.
In a time when budgets are getting smaller, the government is tightening it’s belt and looking for alternative ways such as IC parts sourcing, to meet their needs without breaking the bank. Looking at alternatives such as open-source software could be one of the answers to their security woes.