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May 2004

Enhancing secure coding practices to secure your machine

No software company in the world sets out to produce bug-ridden code. And no application is perfect, especially one with millions of lines of code. But the goal isn't perfection--well, maybe that's the goal, but no prudent security professional can expect to attain it. The Research Triangle Institute estimated in 2002 that flawed software costs as much as $59 billion annually in lost productivity. Add the billions more spent to guard against hackers and malware, and you're talking about serious money. Complicating the quality problem are custom apps from in-house developers and the code developed by inexpensive, offshore contractors. While custom code can be tailored, it's prone to the same errors as faulty commercial software. Producing better software is the obvious cure, but not an easy task. Software vendors and in-house developers are trying to reform their development processes. But, there will be flaws as long as there are humans tapping the keyboard, and businesses care more about faster and cheaper software than quality...

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