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Software Development Best Practices: Time to focus on secure coding..

Software is at the core of the remarkable applications that are impacting the world around us, be it the mobile apps that we use, the smart cities that we are envisioning, the connected device ecosystem that’s heralding a change or any other tech-led transformation redefining the world around us. It is therefore the perfect time to be a software developer and contribute to this digital era. Adhering to software development best practices will certainly help you, whether you are working in your individual capacity as a software engineer or are a part of Agile software development teams.

One such often neglected aspect is ensuring security in the software being developed. As a software developer you need to focus on things like encryption and make sure that the code you create does leave have any loopholes which can later be exploited by hackers. Secure coding is essentially a best practice to safeguard against accidental introduction of security vulnerabilities, defects, bugs, or logic flaws.

Threat modelling

Threat modelling is a best practice to examine places in your software that attackers could possibly exploit. This practice helps developers to understand how attackers can compromise their software. The first step is to document how the application functions, focusing on the flow of data throughout the application. You need to find possible threats in the application by identifying weak places in the flow of data. You can address the threats by rating them and deciding on the risk mitigation strategies. If threat modelling is done right, you will automatically follow the best coding practices to write a secure code.

Sanitise data sent to other systems

Sanitising all the data passed to complex subsystems like command shells, relational databases, and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components. Attackers can invoke the unused functionality in these components through the use of SQL, command, or other injection attacks. It is important to sanitise and fix loopholes in the system for the data that is sent to other systems.

Automation is the key

As software applications move to the cloud, secure coding has become relatively easier. The security automation has made it easier to think security early and reduce the efforts in the software development process. You can integrate various automation tools to ensure that the code that you are writing is secure.

Security should come first

Never leave security till the end of the software development process. You need to prioritise the security aspect at the beginning of the software development process. Insecure devices or application may require an extensive redesign hence, considering the security of the software before starting to write the code is always a best practice.

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