Open source software has a mixed reputation for security, yet it drives commercial space enterprises such as SpaceX and Starlink—and increasingly, U.S. military space efforts. But Lauren Barrett Knausenberger, the Air Force’s chief information officer, says her service has taken steps to keep key data safe.
Proponents of open source software, as opposed to proprietary software, say that because anyone can inspect or change the source code, bugs and vulnerabilities are more easily found and fixed. But some can linger for years. As cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier has pointed out, “Open source means that the code is available for security evaluation, not that it necessarily has been evaluated by anyone. This is an important distinction.”