Open source versus closed source security

Friday, 1 October 2004, 12:29 AM EST

When you use a closed source system, in many cases you're also using a closed system (to some degree or another). Understanding how something works (which is important when securing a system), or the processes through which it was made, can oftentimes be difficult or impossible, as the only readily available insight into this information in the documentation provided by the vendor. This, however, has the interesting side effect of making attacks against such a system more difficult. An attacker typically needs to understand a system before he can find and exploit a vulnerability in it. Security by obscurity you say? Perhaps. It really depends on whether or not the system or project *depends* on the closed source nature of the source code for security.

By Jason Miller at SecurityFocus.

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