For anyone who has played around with the coding side of things, or even had a peek under the bonnet, names such as notepad++, GNU C library and Putty will be immediately recognizable.
These are some of the commonly used Open Source Software (OSS); software that is freely distributed with it source code that allows the user to read or modify it. Due to this, they are widely used in IT and programming.
Appreciating the important purpose they serve, and also the possibility of abuse, Julia Reda, an EU Member of Parliament has announced that the European Commission is launching what they term as “ bug bounty programs,” in a bid to encourage and support open source software.
The Member of Parliament noted that this is part of an ongoing effort, Free and Open Source Software Audit (FOSSA) in a concerted effort to get people to look debug these projects. At this time there will be up to fifteen programs that will be supported, in a bid to make the Internet safer and more reliable.
Security Given Paramount Importance
The EU has made its intent known by focusing this new pool on OpenSSL, a security protocol. Detailing the reason why they are focusing on this first, Reda said
“OpenSSL is very important for the encryption of Internet traffic, it is also highly relevant to the protection of your personal communication, or your payment details when you’re shopping online.”
She was upfront about recognizing the importance of Free and Open Source Software and was fully aware of the implications on the
“integrity and reliability of the Internet and other infrastructure.”
Further expanding on that point she noted the dependence of many organisations,
“institutions like the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission build upon Free Software to run their websites and many other things. The Internet is crucial to our economy and our administration.”
Highlighting the importance of this in the day to day activities Reda noted how people are increasingly dependent on the internet for simple things like shopping to other things like information about politics.
Technical And Money Matters
Apart from the projects already mentioned earlier, there are a wide array of web servers, builders and file transfer consoles, amongst others. The projects in focus are7-zip, Apache Kafka, Apache Tomcat, Digital Signature Services (DSS), Drupal, Filezilla, FLUX TL, KeePass, midPoint, the Symfony PHP framework, VLC Media Player, and WSO2. As many might have noticed these are a wide variety of software commonly used.
The EU is happy to reward those who find and fix issues.
“depend[ing] on the severity of the issue uncovered and the relative importance of the software,”
a hacker or coder to make anywhere between 15 to 90 thousand euro.
The importance of Open source software can hardly be understated, especially considering most of the crypto-sphere is so dependent on them. A push to make this aspect more secure will be useful to everyone.