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Secure Coding

Secure coding has developed into a top concern for developers to release protected applications in the connected, software-oriented world of the 21st century. But the positive side is that by creating enhanced and highly secured source code, many possible susceptibilities and assaults can be avoided.

An app's behavior and capabilities are defined by the collection of instructions called source code. It is basically an application's genetic code. A machine reads and runs commands converted from the source code.

With a few rapid changes to secure coding practices, a skilled black hat hacker can instantly take over your digital goods. As companies keep digitizing their operations, the threat of infiltration will only increase. Therefore, adopting safe coding techniques is the answer.

An Overview of Secure Coding

Secure coding safeguards and shields published code from familiar, undisclosed, and unanticipated risk factors like security exploits, shared keys, a breach of cloud secrets, incorporated credentials, collaborative keys, thoughtful business data, and personally identifiable information (PII). 

It represents a broader awareness among the developers, DevOps, and security teams, emphasizing the fact that the code-embedded security must be implemented as a crucial component of CI/CD, enabling constant modifications in code and infrastructure and giving insight into all visible and invisible elements of a given ecosystem.

To code securely, one needs to be ready, knowledgeable, equipped, and, most importantly, alter one's mindset.

The Importance of Secure Coding

A weak program allows for hacking. They have the ability to take over a gadget directly or open a doorway to another one. So whether you create code for software that operates on digital phones, desktop PCs, servers, or incorporated devices, secure coding is essential.

In order to encourage this practice, you must become acquainted with the methods and equipment, including safe coding guidelines. Cyber Security coding guidelines ensure that incorporated software is protected from security flaws. These recommendations help development teams avoid, find, and fix mistakes that jeopardize the safety of their software against apprehensive Software hazards.

This may lead to the following:

  • A legit user is being denied access.
  • Operation interruption.
  • Damage to thousands of customers' computers. 
  • Compromised information.
  • Lack of life.

Security vulnerabilities that impact code

  • Code Injection
    In this process, the malicious hackers inject code into an online service to change how it works. 

This assault often targets various computer languages. It is a problem across all programming languages, not just C, Assembly, and C++. Hackers frequently employ SQL injection, a code injection, to gain entrance to a website's database.

If optimal security coding formalities are not observed, all programming languages are susceptible to cyberattacks. This entails all online application languages as well as well-known choices like Python, Java, SQL, Ruby, Perl, and PHP.

If a SQL injection is effective, confidential customer data like email addresses, contact information, as well as credit card numbers can be obtained.

The most prevalent security flaw that even the most reliable website is susceptible to is cross-site scripting. When hackers insert a spiteful script into the text areas of an online application, XSS takes place.

There is minimum to no method to recognize these scripts as an external injection as they are displayed in the browser. In case hackers have unrestricted entrance ability to end users' browsers, they can access all the private data kept there and even change the HTML of websites to obtain detailed data from users.

Through IoT, embedded devices connect to the external world more frequently. As a result, malicious code assaults have more possibilities. Among them are memory leaks.

Buffer breaches give an outside adversary the same opportunity to "put" code or data into an avenue as attacks involving injection do. If done correctly, it makes that system susceptible to additional outside directions. 

Popular illustration: Heartbleed

An illustration of a buffer overread flaw is Heartbleed. This implies that a malicious outsider could access system info that shouldn't be accessed. 

The security flaw has received the most attention to date. Many computers in the online realm were impacted by it (the OpenSSL package). And heartbleed might have a direct effect on each of us.

  • Open Source Software

In spite of the allure of being free, open-source software has numerous shortcomings in security that make it a poor choice for companies with limited resources.

All facets of open source software's coding constantly become available due to its community-focused character. All security and program susceptibilities are described in depth here. Hackers frequently participate in these groups in silence while employing the information they learn there to plan their cyberattacks.

Secure coding practices are only sometimes followed as the source code of open-source software is readily available to the general public. Open source software is a favorite among hackers because it has no protections, and all certainty flaws are known.

Secure coding techniques 

  1. Develop a Top-notch Safety Culture

A modification in culture requires time to implement within the organization and is arduous to accomplish. Success depends on gathering the complete team and promoting a security-first story.

  1. Employ Threat Modeling 

Through the use of a multistage method called "Hazard Modeling," code is continuously analyzed for flaws and weaknesses.

  1. Avoid Making Cuts

Avoid the temptation to make corners. Although there are strict constraints for developers, it is crucial to produce production-ready code regardless of how this causes disruptions.

  1. Standards Documentation

Secure coding guidelines must be compiled and shared on a personal repository. Making the standards explicit allows the developer to evaluate them and promotes accomplishments.

Best Practices

Secure Coding Best Practices

  • Follow OWASP recommendations

A non-profit organization, OWASP, is committed to ensuring secure coding endeavors through OWASP secure coding practices and the list of free application testing tools.

Additionally, OWASP regularly updates its manual for online security evaluation, which software writers are free to incorporate into their SDLC. You can find several program susceptibilities that would have remained hidden if you used this guidance alone.

Coding errors and mistakes humans make are inevitable, and safe coding efficient methods necessitate quick problem-solving. Any security flaws should be rectified immediately, and the repo's past should be cleared of all evidence.

  • Block Reflected XSS

Defending against reflected or non-persistent XSS assaults stop malicious programs from being checked into source control. This safeguards users from the implementation of malevolent HTML or JavaScript that is specifically aimed at them.

  • Automatic code scanning and validation

You need to remove extraneous components from your system and ensure that all functional software is patched and upgraded with the most recent versions. All you need to make sure that your evolution and production ecosystems are managed safely if you operate in numerous settings.

A significant origin of security flaws and weaknesses involves out-of-date software. Patches for flaws are included in software upgrades, making frequent updates one of the most essential and safe coding practices. Your company may benefit from a patch management solution to stay current with changes.

The best way to prevent using components with familiar susceptibilities is the following:

  • Aim always to use the most recent version of components (patching)
  • It would be better to use a firm that has earned Iasme certification and CREST accreditation to find safety flaws like insecure deserialization or inadequate recording and monitoring.
  • Logs and alerts

Log records may accidentally contain secrets, so automatic defenses should focus on logs. In order to watch out-of-sight assets without ever checking into the code source, it is crucial to make sure verbose recording is activated locally for bespoke apps.

  • Avoid unrestricted write operators in C++

Unrestrained read or copy operators, like "strcpy" and "strcat" in C++, frequently result in a buffer overflow because they fail to take into consideration the restricted magnitude of buffers. Instead, "strncpy" and "strncat" operators should be used by C++ program writers.

This specific safe coding technique could be better as it necessitates precise prediction and specification of the stretch amount of time of all data entering the memory banks on the part of software writers. Any logical errors will cause a buffer overrun, launching an assault.

  • Implement proper input validation

All information entered into an online application is examined and validated by input validation. It is used intelligently and will thwart all XSS and code insertion attempts.

Whitelisted and banned input checking are the two types available.

Blacklisted validation is the opposite strategy, preventing all inputs on the blacklist from clearing authentication and only allowing anticipated information to travel through a web service. Whitelisted validation, on the other hand, is the more secure coding choice because programmers cannot anticipate every variant of code injection.

  • Keep an eye on vendors

You might adhere closely to secure coding standards and regulations, but your suppliers might need to take the same precautions to safeguard their coding. Establishing a wall between your internal confidential data and your suppliers is necessary to stop third-party security contraventions from harming your company.


Your program is protected by a secure code. Secure encryption techniques must therefore be used throughout the design and creation of your product. The secret is to use safe coding guidelines like CERT C and CWE

Adopting secure programming methods into your software development process ensures the team creates protected software because cybercriminals constantly change their strategies. Use the procedures in this guide to protect your code from online assaults.


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March 27, 2023
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