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April 2011

Marcus Ranum and Gary McGraw talk about software security issues

Marcus Ranum: Do you think the emphasis on mega-frameworks like Google Toolkit, Ruby or (insert favorite Web2.0 technology here) is going to improve the state of software security, make it worse, or be neutral? I'm really torn between writhing with discomfort at the idea of these large code-masses that are being used in lots of important places -- it's just too complicated to get it all right! Gary McGraw: Both. The gigantic frameworks themselves can make analysis of a system that includes them a lot harder. If you think about automated static analysis for code review, the frameworks lead to a big 'whack-a-mole' game: The data flow goes in and pops back out in any number of surprising places. On the other hand, if you do the right thing from a static analysis perspective, you can sometimes pre-compute where the mole is going to pop back out and use that to your advantage. Frameworks can help with security too -- enterprises that create frameworks of their own, and apply those consistently for their developers have been having ...

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