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Application Security

12/19/2013
12:00 AM
Jeff Williams
Jeff Williams
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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.
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M1ch43L
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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
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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.  

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