Secure Software Development: 10 Crucial Takeaways
Probably everyone has heard about the intensified danger on the Internet, which appears in the forms of cybercrimes, malicious codes, social engineering such as phishing and network spoofing, etc. But have you ever thought that these web security threats could have been avoided only if software developers had made some decisions differently when creating a software development solution?
Well, the thought might be new not only for you, but also for software developers as well. So, let us have a look at 10 crucial takeaways from secure software development process that every software developer should use in order to ensure that the software is secure:
1. Make sure that the components you use are safe.
- This is one of the most common mistakes made by a software development company that puts software users’ data security at risk. While on the one hand such components may seem reliable and safe to use, if they are not regularly updated, this is a red flag. Regular updates can help to prevent problems caused by vulnerabilities in the system. However, this also does not guarantee complete security. Therefore, in order to reduce the possible risk to the minimum level, it would be worthwhile to use third-party components as little as possible.
2. Think twice before using third-party’s tools.
- The reason you should do that is the same as for using third-party’s components. Using them makes it difficult or impossible to ensure information security. And this means that every used component or tool becomes, in a sense, a place for hackers to break into. Meanwhile, the fewer possible entrances are left for hackers, the safer it is for the software users. Therefore, think twice before using third-party tools. Otherwise, quick decisions may be regretted soon. And fixing the consequences might take time and be expensive as well.
3. Do not share sensitive information.
- Sometimes programmers leave some of the information within the comments that hackers might find useful as well. That is the mistake that is not usually done on purpose. It is just recklessness but it definitely gives the information a hacker needs just on a plate. What could be better, right? That is why they do not take long to take advantage of the comments left by the programmers. So, the advice is always to double check whether you are not leaving some of the sensitive information.
4. Keep confidential data secure.
- For the ones who ask how to do that, the answer is – use cryptography. It is a technique of secure communications which ensures that only the sender and intended recipient of a particular message can view it. This means that such information becomes unavailable for the third-parties. For example, VPN software works on the same principle. It establishes an encrypted connection between a user’s computer and the internet. It means that nobody can see any of the information he is sending or receiving. Even if it was your Internet provider, representatives of the government, hackers, etc.
5. Do not give detailed error messages.
- Why is it significant? That is because providing detailed information might be like lending a hand for an attacker. Although, at the first glance, it is simply technical information that has no ways to be used for harmful purposes, for the attacker it might be worth its weight in gold. Therefore, in order to ensure security, you should always follow the rule – less information about the error for a user is always better than more of it. Using it, you will be able to protect yourself from cyberattacks more often than you can imagine.
6. Manage memory properly.
- It is extremely important advice for custom app development services, which every software developer should frame and hang above his desk! Incorrect memory management is one of the weakest parts of the software, which opens the doors for malicious attacks. Therefore you should make sure that you are not using any functions that have vulnerability issues, to double check whether input strings are truncated correctly as well as check if a buffer size is enough for overflows. Proper memory management can be of great help in protecting the personal information of users, so why shouldn’t you take advantage of it?
7. Forget about backdoor access.
- Usually software developers add such access within the system because of the other advantages it has. It is completely understandable why they choose to have it. However, you should follow the saying that if there is an entrance, the time will come when someone will try to use it. Although it may be called to be a convenient tool for software developers, it is also a great risk factor that increases the chance of hackers’ attacks. Therefore, if you have backdoor access, get rid of it as soon as possible. It may be one of the best decisions made to enhance security.
8. Pay some attention to database security.
- It will prevent threats in custom software development. The question is – what to start with? First of all, you should use parameterized queries, to secure credentials for the access of the database, to turn off the features of the database that are not really necessary, to disable default accounts that are not significant for businesses as well as to make sure that admin passwords are strong and renewed regularly as well. You really knew that it was important to do all this. But do you apply these steps in your daily practice?
9. Input validation.
- It is performed to ensure only properly formed data is entering the workflow in an information system. Also, to avoid malformed information persistence in the database, which might trigger malfunction of various downstream components. It cannot be used as the main and primary method in order to prevent Injection, XSS, SQL attacks. But it definitely reduces their impact. Therefore, if you are choosing between using input validation and not, it is always better to give it a chance. Who knows, maybe it will be the vital tool to counter the hacker attack?
10. Output encoding.
- It is like a shield against XSS attacks. What is XSS? It is usually called cross-site scripting. That is a web attack which includes handing over a malicious code to a user and injecting client-side scripts into other websites. In order to use output encoding correctly, software developers have to pay attention to how the data is being displayed on a particular page. Also, output encoding should be used in case there is any data that could come from a user’s input. This defensive programming technique works very well when defending cross-site scripting attacks. That is why every software developer should consider using it.
All in all, these 10 pieces of advice for software development services that had been covered above, might be crucial in order to keep software users’ personal information private. Although these security tools do not guarantee that you will never ever face any cyberattacks, they reduce the risk of facing them at least 10 times or more.
Of course, the abundance of security measures does not mean that hackers will not test the strength of your software’s protection. Probably, they will. However, carefully chosen as well as constantly updated tools will ensure that the process of trying to get in will be much more difficult or maybe even impossible. So, do everything in your power to make it so!
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