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Ways to integrate security into the SDLC

To successfully integrate security into the software development life cycle (SDLC) you need to make sure you factor time for security into the project plan.

To successfully integrate security into the software development life cycle (SDLC) you need to make sure you factor...

time for security into the project plan. You should also consider security as added value in an application -- $1 spent up front saves $10 during development and $100 after release.

You also need to train developers, testers, architects, etc. -- anyone involved in the SDLC at different stages with software security principles because fixing the problem at right place by the right person saves a lot of time and money.

Developers must embrace secure application development. Quality is not just "Does it work" but also if the application is secure. Security vulnerabilities should be considered bugs tracked the same way as functional bugs.

Phase 1: Planning/requirements

  • Data sensitivity assessment
  • What data will you handle?
  • How is the data classified?
  • Preliminary risk assessment (RA)
  • Document assumptions and functional requirements so that the impact on security can be assessed
  • What happens if the data is disclosed, lost or changed?

Phase 2: Development/acquisition

  • Security controls in specifications:
  • Security features
  • Vulnerabilities
  • Malicious insiders
  • Contingency plan
  • Set coding standards to avoid known causes for buffer overflows
  • Using weak encryption schemes
  • Default or improper coding practices that may open doors to attackers Make available to programmers the vulnerabilities and potential exposures associated with programming languages and operating systems before getting into the implementation phase.
  • Set up regular peer review of the code.

Phase 3: Testing/implementation

  • Develop security test cases based on the requirements, and common vulnerabilities.
  • Identify all points in the source code where the program takes input from users and from another program or un-trusted source.
  • Administrative controls and safeguards
  • Remove installation programs
  • Machine content/intent
  • File and program settings and privileges
  • Contingency & disaster recovery plans

Phase 4: Operations/maintenance

  • Backup, restore, and restart instructions and procedures Cryptography keys
  • User administration and access privileges
  • Audit logs
  • Log file analysis
  • Verify documentation of access permissions
  • Review system interdependencies

Phase 5: Disposal

  • Storage of cryptographic keys
  • Legal requirements of records retention and destruction
  • Sanitize media

This was last published in May 2007

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