The advent of the Internet and other low cost communication technologies introduces an incredible new opportunity for the creation of a true `information society'. However, it also raises several doubts over the security of most information systems. It is widely known that most desktop systems are highly vulnerable to intrusion and other security related problems, and can be considered real hazards if the issue is not adequately controlled.
We can easily see that open source software has a distinct advantage over proprietary systems, since it is possible to easily and quickly identify potential security problems and correct them. Volunteers have created mailing lists and auditing groups to check for security issues in several important networking programs and operating system kernels, and now the security of open source software can be considered equal or better than that of desktop operating systems.
It has also already been shown that the traditional approach of `security through obscurity' leaves too many open holes. Even now that the Internet reaches just a part of the world, viruses and cracker attacks can pose a significant privacy and monetary threat. This threat is one of the causes of the adoption of open source software by many network-oriented software systems.
An additional point is the creation of open source testing packages, which can verify the conformance of the code to some given quality standards. This also helps to overcome the problem of testing software packages that are rapidly changing, to ensure that the software behaves correctly and according to specifications. Test suites can be created to exercise most of a software package (within the obvious limits of such an approach, not based on rigorous formal verification) and thus guaranteeing the reliability of the code.