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Risk

5/13/2008
11:02 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Why Software Stinks

Earlier this decade, many universities started adding cybersecurity as part of a well-rounded programming curriculum. Apparently, universities in the U.K. didn't get the memo.

Earlier this decade, many universities started adding cybersecurity as part of a well-rounded programming curriculum. Apparently, universities in the U.K. didn't get the memo.Guess what: you live in the United Kingdom, you're degreed, and you have no clue about secure development. That's just great, and probably why we continue to see the same application defects -- over and over again -- whether it was developed in C++ in 1993 or Java in 2008.

According to a survey just released by the Cyber Security Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), established a couple of years ago by the U.K. government's Technology Strategy Board, when it comes to security training, U.K. students come up Null.

According to the study, available here, fewer than 20% of IT undergrads get more than five hours on how to incorporate security functionality over the entirety of their coursework.

Wow. No wonder problems with buffer overflows and poor authentication schemes keep popping up, almost daily.

Five hours isn't enough time to review the OWASP Top 10 types of Web application vulnerabilities, let alone get an overview of forensics, compensating controls, what a firewall does, explain why security should be incorporated in the design and functional requirements at the beginning of a project, or even explain how an organization should go about evaluating risk.

This is not to say that all IT students need to know IT security in-depth, but you'd think a class over a semester would be the least the universities could provide to teach IT security theory.

It looks like those who specialize in IT security in the U.K. will be busy for decades to come cleaning up the mess the universities keep churning out.

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