Application Security
12/19/2013
12:00 AM
Jeff Williams
Jeff Williams
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail

Secure Code Starts With Measuring What Developers Know

I recently discovered I've been teaching blindly about application security. I assumed that I know what students need to learn. Nothing could be further from the truth.
1 of 2

1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
M1ch43L
100%
0%
M1ch43L,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/22/2013 | 2:19:33 PM
SQL Injection
In my experience there are still a large number of developers who do not have a grasp on the SQL injection threat and proper coding techniques to prevent it. You'll hear "we use stored procedures so we're not vulnerable". Stored procedures just move the problem around. You'll also hear a variety of escape character strategies. In reality to properly prevent SQL injection vulnerabilities in your web applications you need to follow two important coding principles. First, never concatenate dynamic SQL from external input and second always use parameterized SQL anytime you must use external input in the application. 

However, even if you follow the above rules you're still potentially vulnerable to SQL injection. This is because 3rd party code running on your system could be vulnerable. Also, hackers can install malware to make your system vulnerable. Those who believe that simply fixing the applications will eliminate the SQL injection threat don't truly understand the threat.
Marilyn Cohodas
100%
0%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
12/19/2013 | 5:01:45 PM
More bang for the buck
Very interesting article, Jeff. You make a strong case about where the emphasis in application security should begin and the numbers seem to bear you out:  

We found that projects where more than half the team members had received secure coding training, the number of vulnerabilities plummeted by 73 percent. That result is far superior to anything penetration testing programs or automated tools could hope to achieve.

Your point about each organization having it's own strengths and weaknesses is also somewhat of surprise.

So let me through this out to the communiity? What's holding you back from expanding your developer application security training? Let's talk more in the comments.  

Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
DevOps’ Impact on Application Security
DevOps’ Impact on Application Security
Managing the interdependency between software and infrastructure is a thorny challenge. Often, it’s a “developers are from Mars, systems engineers are from Venus” situation.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-4774
Published: 2015-05-25
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in the login page in IBM License Metric Tool 9 before 9.1.0.2 and Endpoint Manager for Software Use Analysis 9 before 9.1.0.2 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users via vectors involving a FRAME element.

CVE-2014-4778
Published: 2015-05-25
IBM License Metric Tool 9 before 9.1.0.2 and Endpoint Manager for Software Use Analysis 9 before 9.1.0.2 do not send an X-Frame-Options HTTP header in response to requests for the login page, which allows remote attackers to conduct clickjacking attacks via vectors involving a FRAME element.

CVE-2014-6190
Published: 2015-05-25
The log viewer in IBM Workload Deployer 3.1 before 3.1.0.7 allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information via a direct request for the URL of a log document.

CVE-2014-6192
Published: 2015-05-25
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in IBM Curam Social Program Management 6.0 SP2 before EP26, 6.0.4 before 6.0.4.5 iFix10, 6.0.5 before 6.0.5.6, and 6.0.5.5a before 6.0.5.8 allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted URL.

CVE-2014-8146
Published: 2015-05-25
The resolveImplicitLevels function in common/ubidi.c in the Unicode Bidirectional Algorithm implementation in ICU4C in International Components for Unicode (ICU) before 55.1 does not properly track directionally isolated pieces of text, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (hea...

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join security and risk expert John Pironti and Dark Reading Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson for a live online discussion of the sea-changing shift in security strategy and the many ways it is affecting IT and business.