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Copy/Paste is a dangerous coding technique

30th September 2017

Researchers from VirginiaTech released a paper after analysing hundreds of posts on the most popular developer forum (Stack Overflow). They looked at the type of questions asked around security, the most popular answers given by the community and the effect it has on code software engineers.

Not a real surprise for people who have been in Cyber Security for a while, but more awareness is needed around this problem from a developer perspective:

  • Security features provided by coding frameworks (e.g. JAVA Spring) are overly complicated and poorly documented
  • A substantial number of developers do not appear to understand the security implications of coding options, showing a lack of cyber security training
  • Many of the suggestions and "fixes" on these forums are not secure but were getting positives votes and thus higher in ratings

The report suggests the following solutions:

  • Workforce retraining
  • Semi-Automating security bug detection and fixing

We need to make security easy for developers and built-in from the start in order to maintain the speed in which businesses operate today.

"The significance of this work is that we provided empirical evidence for a significant number of alarming secure coding issues, which have not been previously reported," the paper says. "These issues are due to a variety of reasons, including the rapidly increasing need for enterprise security applications, the lack of security training in the software development workforce, and poorly designed security libraries."

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/09/29/java_security_plagued_stack_overflow/

Pieter is the Co-Founder and CEO of Secure Code Warrior, as well as a principal instructor for the SANS Institute. He also co-founded BruCON, one of the most awesome hacking conferences on the planet.

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