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Improving software development security

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US security researchers, academics, software vendors and government officials have put their heads together to come up with a list of guidelines for improving software security.

The National Cyber Security Partnership (NCSP) Task Force says its preliminary recommendations are the fruits of the first in-depth look at improving security across the software development lifecycle. The review was an industry response to the publication last year of the White House's National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace.

The NCSP Task Force report makes four key recommendations:

  • Improving the education of current and future software developers, including making security a core component of software and computing degree courses. This includes the development of a a Software Security Certification Accreditation Program.
  • Developing best practices for putting security at the heart of the software design process.
  • Adopting a set of "Guiding Principles for Patch Management" to ensure patches are well-tested, small, localized, reversible and easy to install.
  • Adopting an "Incentives Framework" that policymakers, developers, companies and others can use to develop effective strategies and incentives for making software more secure.

The task force, Improving Security Across the Software Development Lifecycle was co-chaired by Scott Charney and Ron Moritz, chief security strategists at Microsoft and Computer Associates. Future efforts will focus on improving research, education, software development and the patches distribution process.

The NCSP is led by the Business Software Alliance, the Information Technology Association of America, TechNet and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in voluntary partnership with academicians, business leaders, federal government agencies, and industry experts. ®

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