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Secure coding

Secure coding definition

Secure coding refers to the principle of code design that adheres to the highest security standards and best practices. Writing software and source code that prioritizes security helps safeguard code from known and unknown vulnerabilities. Secure coding places the responsibility for code security on the developer rather than a security team. However, due to an increased demand for quick delivery, some developers don’t adhere to secure coding standards in the software development lifecycle.

Why is secure coding important?

  • Prevents vulnerabilities. Secure coding helps prevent specific code-related software vulnerabilities (e.g., bugs, broken code) that attackers may use to gain access to the system.
  • Protects against cyberattacks. Adopting secure coding practices can help prevent certain types of cyberattacks (e.g., SQL injection, broken access control).

Secure coding best practices

  • Security by design. Security should be a priority as you’re developing code, not something you add after it’s done.
  • Password management. All passwords should be of adequate length and complexity to withstand common attacks.
  • Error handling and logging. Error handling can help catch errors in the code, and documenting logs of software errors helps identify bugs more efficiently.
  • System configuration. Clearing systems of unnecessary components and updating all software regularly helps prevent vulnerabilities and security breaches.
  • Access control. Secure coding uses a “default deny” approach that limits privileges and restricts access to only users who need it.
  • Threat modeling. Examining software areas susceptible to attacks can help identify any potential vulnerabilities.
  • Cryptographic practices. Encrypting data with up-to-date cryptographic algorithms increases code security.
  • Input validation and output encoding. Identify all data inputs and validate the untrusted ones.