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Microsoft will show world+dog how to write secure code

SDL for the masses

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After spending four years as an internal process for designing secure programs from the ground up, Microsoft's Secure Development Lifecycle could soon go mainstream.

The company on Tuesday unveiled plans to help other organizations adopt comprehensive secure coding practices through three initiatives that will go live sometime in November. The company is billing them as a way to bring SDL practices to the development masses.

The first initiative is the release of the Microsoft SDL Threat Modeling Tool. The software is designed to streamline the development of secure applications by helping teams track and mitigate security and privacy flaws that are likely to affect specific types of applications. The idea is to streamline secure coding by giving guidance in drawing threat diagrams, analysis of threats and mitigations and integrating with an organization's bug tracking systems.

A software process involving an external entity, for example, would be flagged by the tool for vulnerabilities involving spoofing and repudiation. Dataflow processes, by contrast, would be flagged for tampering and information disclosure.

It was only yesterday that Window Snyder, Mozilla's chief of security and a former Microsoft employee, said security departments from different organizations should cooperate more in their common goal of keeping the net secure.

"I would love to see Microsoft's internal tools available to you guys to be able to use in an IT deployment or to use in the development of other software products," Snyder told attendees of the MIS Training Institute's IT Security World conference in San Francisco. "These are incredibly useful."

The second initiative is Microsoft's SDL optimization model, which is designed to help outside agencies develop an internal SDL process of their own or better assess the quality of their current SDL program.

A third initiative, dubbed the Microsoft SDL Pro Network, is a collection of third-party security providers that will help outside organizations tackle specific challenges in developing secure applications. Nine security consultancies have been tapped for the one-year pilot program. They include: Cigital, IOActive, iSEC Partners, Leviathan Security Group, Next Genertion Security Software, Nruns Professionals, Security Innovation, Security University, and Verizon Business. ®

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