Security And Design

14 June 2003

This last week I had the pleasure of wandering around Florida speaking with Dan Sandlin and David LeBlanc at a series of Microsoft architecture councils. For those who don't know David LeBlanc wrote the very popular book Writing Secure Code with Michael Howard. At each of the session I would do a talk / q&a on P of EAA (which got a JavaWorld award this week) and David would follow on security.

One thing that interested me was that several people found the combination odd - implying that few people would be interesting in two such diverse topics. I think this is at the heart of problems about security in the industry. Security is seen as some separate topic area which sits in its silo. Yet security isn't something you can just add to an application by putting in a few encapsulated classes here and there. Security thinking should pervade a whole team - particularly on applications that are available on the internet or a large corporate intranet.

To be fair there's room for people to focus on security issues. There's a lot of stuff to know about on security. But everyone should have a reasonable knowledge about it. As David points out: many eyeballs don't lead to secure code - you need many educated eyeballs. One of the things I like about David's attitude is that educating developers is a key part of the picture, with less emphasis on review steps with security groups.