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How to Secure Your Software: 10 Takeaways for Software Developers by@sampatel
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How to Secure Your Software: 10 Takeaways for Software Developers

by Sam PatelAugust 26th, 2021
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Threats pertaining to software have grown at a massive level in the past few years. According to EdgeScan 2020 vulnerability report, software vulnerabilities have damaged organizations and software users in many different ways. Software security must be woven within the system's fabric, such as eliminating all the known vulnerabilities while measuring overall software quality. Here we've some other secure programming practices that you should equally follow to make sure your software is safe to use. Don't use components that aren't updated regularly have a higher possibility of facing vulnerability issues.

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Threats pertaining to software have grown at a massive level in the past few years. According to EdgeScan 2020 vulnerability report, software vulnerabilities have damaged organizations and software users in many different ways.


Likewise, software security must be woven within the system's fabric, such as eliminating all the known vulnerabilities while measuring overall software quality.


Though software security often doesn't cross the mind, especially for the new software developers, and if it does, there are high chances of software developers having pretty basic knowledge about it.


Without stressing it out further, here we've some of the best actionable software security takeaways for every software developer to make their software safe and secure for their users.

The Security Practices in Software Development That You Should Know as a Software Developer

Code signing your software is necessary to make sure software users don't get any unwanted security warning messages. Still, here we've some other secure programming practices that you should equally follow to make sure your software is safe to use. Here, below are the software security practices that you should be aware of as a software developer:

1. Input Validation

From web applications to software, input validation is very effective in minimizing invalid and wrong inputs. Input validation is among the process of verifying whether the received input is correct and according to the parameter or not.

Input validation is the process that tests input given by the user in compliance with the defined standards within the software. For instance, as a software developer, you can keep input validation for an SQL query or general validation where data is submitted. So, for example, in software, some validation should be there on the client.

2. Encoding Outputs

Encoding, also known as Output Encoding, is another safe programming practice that translates special characters into a totally different but similar form that eliminates dangers for the targeted interpreters. Likewise, output encoding translates so that whenever any input is displayed, it doesn't execute. And it also halts all the untrusted data to be executed, which is not understood by the interpreter.


In other words, as every input gets verified and validated before utilizing it in the application, the output should also be encoded. So it gets verified and validated before being used in the application. Some popular examples where output encoding can be applied are like:


• Validation of data only on a trusted system. • Sanitization of untrusted data. • Encoding all the data unless they're verified and safe for the interpreter.

3. Database Security

As the name implies, database security is about providing security measures that prevent database threats. Likewise, some of the secure programming practices that developers can follow are like,

• Giving the lowest possible privilege to software and application for accessing the database. • Using parameterized queries. • Secure credentials for accessing the database. • Disabling default accounts that aren't required nor needed for businesses. • Removing or changing all admin passwords related to the database. • Turning off all the functionality and features of the database that aren't necessary, such as stored procedures, utility packages, or other services.

4. Error Handling & Logging

Handling error messages isn't the favorite task of anyone, but it should be appropriately handled. For instance, if any mistake is made during handling errors or exceptions, then there's a big possibility that it'll create other issues along with possible chances of severe vulnerabilities, which can become damaging for your software and software users.

For instance, you can follow software security best practices like not giving detailed error messages to disclose any technical information such as run-time environment, which becomes beneficial for an attacker.

5. Don't Use Components That Have Vulnerabilities

Before you use any third-party components, verifying it once it doesn't have any vulnerabilities is better. For example, components that aren't updated regularly have a higher possibility of facing vulnerability issues.

Therefore, as a security practice in the software development cycle, it's recommended that you update with the latest fixes by using platforms like GitHub or else avoid using such components if it's possible to work without them.

6. Prevent Sharing Critical Information in Comments

Sometimes programmers knowingly or unknowingly leave confidential information within the comments, and it's not among the secure programming practices. Therefore, it's recommended that all software developers follow security practices in software development and keep general and meaningful comments without going much into detail while giving essential data such as filenames linked with the software or passwords of accounts.

7. Use Third-Party Tools Carefully

You may have followed good security practices in the software development cycle, and your software may be free from all the vulnerabilities and maybe totally secure to use. However, suppose you're using third-party tools, then you've to be careful while using them. Furthermore, assume the third-party tool you're using isn't on the same page with your software security practices. In that case, it may become an issue for you if any security issue arises with those third-party tools that you've used.

For example, there are many cloud backup providers, but none provide optimal security and required features. Henceforth, it's your job to determine whether the cloud service provider you're planning to use follows good software security best practices and isn't compromised.

8. Proper Managing of Memory

Proper management of memory is one of the essential aspects of secure software, as many attacks are made that relate to memory. Furthermore, some steps that you should consider for proper memory management are like:

• Avoid using functions that have vulnerability issues. For instance, minimize the usage or avoid functions such as strcat, strcpy, print altogether. • Before using functions such as concatenation or copy, make sure input strings are truncated correctly. • Check buffer size for overflows.

9. Avoid Secret Backdoors

Regardless of what's the reason, it's better to prevent adding backdoor access within the system. Because as soon as someone knows about it, it can be used for malicious purposes sooner or later. For instance, it's pretty common among cyber attackers to exploit such backdoors. Likewise, adding a backdoor is damaging for your company. Because, for the users, you'll be like a cybercriminal interested in collecting user critical data, hijacking devices, or adding malware.

10. Cryptographic Practices

Cryptography is among critical software security practices that help to secure confidential information and data. However, to make it effective, it's required that software developers use cryptographic algorithms and implement them correctly. Likewise, the usage of the cryptographic algorithm should be secure, comply with all the latest security standards, and be used securely for the respective software or an application.

Wrapping Up

Developing secure software needs a good understanding of coding and the risks associated with them. However, incorporating the above-mentioned secure programming practices in your software development before releasing can help you save from different types of attacks and enhance your software security.