How Secure Coding Practices Help Mitigate Cybersecurity Threats

How Secure Coding Practices Help Mitigate Cybersecurity Threats | Cybersecurity | Emeritus

According to the Trend Micro 2023 Midyear Cybersecurity Threat Report, hackers are leveraging innovations and becoming more creative in their tactics to breach confidential data. As per the report, India was one of the top countries with the most cybersecurity risk events in the first half of 2023. Moreover, the report showcased the majority of the attacks in the technology, healthcare, and manufacturing industries. With the introduction of new cybersecurity tools and frameworks to protect data, hackers also innovate their tools and strategies. Thus, it is essential for companies to check and prevent vulnerabilities from the initial stage of app development or integration. One of the best ways to mitigate cybersecurity threats is secure coding.

This blog explains the following:

  • What is Secure Coding?
  • What are Some Common Vulnerabilities in Coding That Need to be Addressed?
  • Why is Secure Coding Important in Today’s Technological Landscape?
  • How Can Secure Coding Practices Help Mitigate Cyber Threats in India?
  • What are the Best Practices for Implementing Secure Coding?
  • Why Emeritus Coding Courses are Popular Among Professionals

What is Secure Coding?

Highest Paying Tech JobsCoding refers to writing instructions to computers or machines in a language that computers can understand. However, developers might not enter codes correctly, or some functional errors may occur, leading to security issues, consequently making critical data available to third parties. To prevent this, software developers use additional layers of security while writing codes. This practice is called secure coding. It protects the application from any vulnerabilities. Secure coding includes data encryption, error handling, threat modeling, and incident response planning.

It aims to implement best software development practices that reduce vulnerabilities before a code is executed in an operational environment.

Secure Coding Steps

There are five steps in secure coding:

1. Understanding Common Coding Vulnerabilities

The first step to learning secure coding is understanding the various vulnerabilities and software errors that a program or application can be exposed to.

2. Identify Vulnerabilities

Once you have a list of all the potential vulnerabilities, you need to run various tests on the code.  You can do it manually or by using another software.

3. Prioritize Vulnerabilities

Developers calculate the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), a framework to determine the severity of security vulnerabilities. Since resolving all vulnerabilities requires a lot of time and resources, developers prioritize the coding vulnerabilities according to the CVSS scores and work on mitigating them.

4. Risk Mitigation

The next step is mitigating coding vulnerabilities using software development best practices laid down by the Open Source Foundation for Application Security (OWASP) or other organizations.

5. Documentation

A crucial step in secure coding involves the use of standard templates for documentation that comprise details like the type of coding vulnerabilities, source code, CVSS score, and remediation strategy.

ALSO READ: What is Cybersecurity?

What are Some Common Vulnerabilities in Coding That Need to be Addressed?

Coding vulnerabilities are errors or flaws in an application system that allow hackers to exploit the system. Here are the most common coding vulnerabilities that software developers must address:

1. Cross-Site Scripting

In cross-site scripting or XSS attacks, hackers exploit website vulnerabilities to inject client-side malware, infecting end users. Writing secure code and restricting content display only to trusted users safeguards against this threat.

2. Eval Injection

Threat actors send or inject a custom URL into the program, allowing them to manipulate the input code and send unintended results. This can lead to a breach of sensitive information.

3. Using Hard-Coded Credentials

Hard-coding passwords in source code is risky. It involves embedding credentials instead of fetching them at runtime. This makes applications vulnerable to hackers. So, developers should implement a configurable password management system for users, avoiding direct storage in source code to mitigate this risk.

4. Sequential Query Language (SQL) Injection

SQL  coding vulnerabilities directly impact the databases. In these types of attacks, hackers inject the backend network or infrastructure with malicious software and gain unauthorized access to the database.

5. Broken Authentication

This is the most common type of coding vulnerability in which hackers use stolen and leaked credentials to gain unauthorized access to accounts. It allows them to impersonate the users and exploit data.

ALSO READ: Top Cybersecurity Trends to Keep Your Businesses Safe in 2023

Why is Secure Coding Important in Today’s Technological Landscape?

Cybersecurity threat is one of the biggest concerns for organizations globally in the modern technological landscape. According to Deloitte’s 2022 Cyber Security Landscape Report, the digitalization age has led to more sophisticated cybersecurity attacks. Moreover, the modern digital ecosystem is more prone to exploitation.

Threat actors increasingly target internal networks with advanced social engineering and malware. Ransomware attacks are on the rise, with an estimated cost of $265 billion by 2031, according to Deloitte.

Ransomware attacks occur when threat actors exploit unsecured virtual private networks, using tactics like fake browser updates, injecting malware, or buying stolen credentials. This poses significant financial and operational risks for both individual organizations and entire industries.

Thus, there is a growing importance of secure coding globally. Organizations should adopt secure coding practices and reduce coding vulnerabilities to protect themselves from cybersecurity breaches.

How Can Secure Coding Practices Help Mitigate Cyber Threats in India?

In 2022, PwC’s Digital Trust Insights Survey found Indian firms ramping up cybersecurity budgets. The surge is fueled by the growing reliance on intricate, interdependent tech for digitization and data management. Consequently, attackers are finding network and coding vulnerabilities to breach systems. But secure coding practices reduce network vulnerabilities, prevent cyberattacks in India, and mitigate India cyber threats.

Many organizations also believe that the ecosystem of cybersecurity in India, as well as in other countries, is immensely complex, making it difficult to identify any underlying vulnerabilities. Hence, organizations are focusing on reducing these complexities and prioritizing their investments to ensure maximum cyber protection. As secure coding prevents coding vulnerabilities at an early stage in the software development life cycle, implementing effective software development best practices can reduce complexities, thus reducing the risk of India cyber threats.

What are the Best Practices for Implementing Secure Coding?

The Indian National Informatics Centre has published a checklist for secure code programming in applications, which comprises the best secure coding practices to help minimize cybersecurity risks. It includes the following actions:

  • Implement alpha-numeric CAPTCHA with a minimum of 6 characters
  • Developers should implement proper validations on all input parameters on client- and server-side
  • Enable audit or trail actions in applications and system logs in servers
  • Third-party pages/links should contain a disclaimer and open in a different tab
  • All authenticated pages should have logout buttons
  • Admin/Super-Admin URLs should be accessible only from restricted IP addresses
  • Developers should implement a session time-out feature that automatically logs out a user after specific minutes of inactivity
  • Instead of storing files in the file system, they should be uploaded to the database to prevent files from being executed directly
  • There should be a framework to hash passwords before they are relayed over a network or stored in a database
  • Organizations should store users’ critical data in an encrypted format in the database

ALSO READ: A Coding Language List for Every Type of Coder: What’s Your Pick?

Emeritus cybersecurity courses employ a backward-design approach, emphasizing clear learning outcomes in order to support professionals in reaching their goals. Moreover, industry experts teach these courses to provide insights into the landscape of cybersecurity in India and cyberattacks in India, as well as the importance of secure coding in depth. The courses impart software development best practices for secure coding by means of practical projects and case studies. So, don’t hesitate to explore Emeritus’ online coding courses today to advance your career!

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About the Author

Senior Content Contributor, Emeritus Blog
Iha is the grammar guru turned content wizard who's mastered the delicate dance of correcting bad grammar and teaching people how to correctly pronounce her name. With a filmmaker's flair for marketing and digital media, she's the project ninja, flawlessly coordinating remote and in-person teams for 6+ years. When not conjuring captivating copy, she's delightfully torn between diving into 5 books or diving into endless series—decisions, decisions. Beware of her mischievous dog, who is always ready for a great escape!
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