Thursday, January 31, 2008

Coding Horror: Sins of Software Security

Everyone knows that they should avoid buffer overrun bugs these days. But buffer overrun is only one of 19 commonly occuring causes of security vulnerability brought together in Sins of Software Security on Coding Horror.

Besides being a useful checklist for the designer the list gives the number of incidents due to each cause. Thousands in the case of buffer overrun, SQL injection and cross site scripting attacks, only one due to unauthenticated key exchange. No figures are given for usability errors which pretty much defy measurement by this approach as we do not currently have clear cut criteria for usability issues that drive issue of an advisory.

That has to change which is why I was talking about developing laws of usability at Financial Crypto this year.

Rising fast in the charts are integer overflow bugs. For some reason the designers of C compilers commonly design them in such a way that an overflow can result in execution of arbitrary code rather than raising a math exception which is the usual approach.

Update: added link to the book reviewed in the article.

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