5 Security Considerations When Coding
Here are some tips on how to keep Security Considerations When Coding
1. Entry control
Always check user input to make sure it matches your expectation. Make sure it doesn’t contain characters or other data that your program or any programs called by your program can handle in a special way. This often includes checking for characters such as quotation marks and checking for unusual input characters such as non-alphanumeric characters. where a text string is expected. These are often signs of an attempted attack of some kind.
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2. Scope check
Always check extents when copying data, allocating memory, or performing any operation that could potentially overflow. Some programming languages provide scope-controlled access to containers (such as std::vector::at() in C++, but many programmers insist on using the unchecked index array notation . In addition, using functions like strcpy() ). buffer length specification . Using such functions throughout your code should prevent buffer overflows. Even if your string comes from a program and you think you can get away with strcpy() because you know the length of the string, that doesn’t mean that you or someone else won’t have things in the future change and allow you to specify a string in a configuration file, on the command line, or from direct user input. Getting used to checking the scope of everything should prevent a lot of security vulnerabilities in your software.
3. The principle of least privilege
This is especially important if your program runs as root for any part of its runtime environment. Where possible, a program should drop all privileges it does not need and use higher privileges only for operations that require them. An example of this is the Postfix mail server, which has a modular design to allow parts that require root to run differently than parts that don’t. This form of privilege separation reduces the number of attack paths that lead to root privileges and increases the security of the entire system because the few remaining paths can be critically analyzed for security issues.
4. Don’t race
A contention is when a program performs an operation in several steps and an attacker has a chance to intercept it between steps and change the state of the system. Between calling the stat() permission check and opening the file by calling fopen(), an attacker could change the file being opened by renaming another file to the original file name. To avoid this, fopen() the file first and then use fstat() which takes a file descriptor instead of a filename. Because the file descriptor always points to the file that was opened with fopen(), even if the file name is subsequently changed, a call to fstat() will be guaranteed to check the same file’s permissions. There are many other racial conditions, and there are often ways to avoid them by carefully choosing the order in which certain functions are performed.
5. Register error handlers
Many languages support the concept of a function that can be called when an error is encountered, or the more flexible concept of exceptions. Use them to catch unexpected conditions and return to a safe point in your code, rather than blindly proceeding in the hope that user input won’t crash the program or worse!
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