Bug Age - Pattern series

I love standards. My blackhat persona says this makes it easy to break into systems (mono-risk culture.) Everyone must buy the same machine, same software, same configuration. My whitehat persona says this leads to less configuration flaws. Then opponents must move further up the stack and delve into about code insecurity. One would think we would be prepared / situated when attackers are forced to move onto code insecurity. Mind you, this is a 2-5 years evolution. But 2-5 years is a lot of time preparing for code insecurity. The challenge is how does one build secure code cost-effectively? I am amazed at all the clever ways one can break poorly written php / java / perl / javascript / actionscript/ C / ruby / python code. Software insecurity is a well understood challenge. I have never met a software developer who wanted to create insecure code. It is not a soft problem is the sense programmers write insecure code. But there exist tools (behavioral, developmental, and thought) to reduce / eliminate classes of vulnerabilities. Lost long ago were formal proofs. These computing systems formal designed stuff at a higher level, assigned appropriate interfaces and with some mathematical confidence show a permutation of interfaces couldn’t be utilized by a hacker in the right order to enact unexpected behavior. Formal proofs have disappeared. Ultimately, that is the next problem to solve. The Age of Bugs is dead. Academia and other hackers have moved into the Age of Systems. Eventually software developers will move beyond common software vulnerabilities and utilize mechanisms that eliminate them.  Until then, software developers have a number of patterns to recognize and formally solve. 

In the coming entries, we will cover the following patterns in detail;

Code correctness – incentives to get code right, not secure.
Old code is scary – threat models change after years of use
Holistic security – All encompassing
Open source lesson – many hands in the kitchen
Never ending security – the never ending story
Today’s XSS is tomorrow’s CSRF
Retire unused code – poor financial investment
Tools are tools – nothing more, nothing less

Lazyness - automation