tagged by: security
Modern web development has many challenges, and of those security is both very important and often under-emphasized. While such techniques as threat analysis are increasingly recognized as essential to any serious development, there are also some basic practices which every developer can and should be doing as a matter of course.
This article provides clear and simple steps to help teams that want to adopt threat modelling. Threat modelling is a risk-based approach to designing secure systems. It is based on identifying threats in order to develop mitigations to them. With cyber security risk increasing and enterprises becoming more aware of their liabilities, software development teams need effective ways to build security into software. Unfortunately, they often struggle to adopt threat modelling. Many methodologies require complicated, exhaustive upfront analysis which does not match how modern software teams work. Therefore, rather than stopping everything to create the perfect threat model, I encourage teams to start simple and grow from there.
A session secret is a key used for encrypting cookies. Application developers often set it to a weak key during development, and don't fix it during production. This article explains how such a weak key can be cracked, and how that cracked key can be used to gain control of the server that hosts the application. We can prevent this by using strong keys and careful key management. Library authors should encourage this with tools and documentation.
Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) are technologies that provide increased privacy or secrecy for the persons whose data is processed, stored and/or collected by software and systems. Three PETs that are valuable and ready for use are: Differential Privacy, Distributed & Federated Analysis & Learning, and Encrypted Computation. They provide rigorous guarantees for privacy and as such are becoming increasingly popular to provide data in while minimizing violations of private data.
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.