Sunday, 20 March 2005

Microsoft has published their Security Development Lifecycle whitepaper, where they describe the process that Microsoft has adopted for the development of software that needs to withstand malicious attack.

It's a good read for people responsible for writing software, as well as those responsible for ensuring software development processes properly addresses security as a requirement.

The basic principles of the Security Development Lifecycle are described in the paper:

  • Secure by Design: the software should be architected, designed, and implemented so as to protect itself and the information it processes, and to resist attacks.
  • Secure by Default: in the real world, software will not achieve perfect security, so designers should assume that security flaws would be present. To minimize the harm that occurs when attackers target these remaining flaws, software's default state should promote security. For example, software should run with the least necessary privilege, and services and features that are not widely needed should be disabled by default or accessible only to a small population of users.
  • Secure in Deployment: Tools and guidance should accompany software to help end users and/or administrators use it securely. Additionally, updates should be easy to deploy.
  • Communications: software developers should be prepared for the discovery of product vulnerabilities and should communicate openly and responsibly with end users and/or administrators to help them take protective action (such as patching or deploying workarounds).

Also discussed are the phases of the lifecycle in application, and Microsoft's experience in putting the DSL into use at that company, as well as the results of the initiative. If the small amount of information quoted above is of interest, take the time to read the paper.

Dana Epp comments and has insights into the changes that have happened at Microsoft over the past few years. It is pretty darned amazing to have watched (and participated in, as part of my roles as partner and customer) the changes Microsoft has made with regard to security. I can say from my own experience that security is at the front of MSFT developers' minds every day, and while it's not perfect (and never will be, regardless of the software or authors), it definitely shows.

(via Dana Epp's weblog)



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IT Security | Tech
Sunday, 20 March 2005 13:04:05 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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