ACM SIGSAC recently announced the creation of a new annual ACM Conference on Data and Applications Security and Privacy. The inaugural conference will be held February 21-23 2011 in Hilton Palacio Del Rio, San Antonio, Texas and Denim Group’s John Dickson will be giving the keynote address on day 3 of the conference from 8:30am to 9:30am on February 23rd, 2011.
Title: Software Security: Is OK Good Enough?
Widely publicized breaches regularly occur involving insecure software. This is due to the fact that the vast majority of software in use today was not designed to withstand attacks encountered when deployed on hostile networks such as the Internet. What limited vulnerability statistics that exist confirm that most modern software includes coding flaws and design errors that put sensitive customer data at risk. Unfortunately, security officers and software project owners still struggle to justify investment to build secure software. Initial efforts to build justification models have not been embraced beyond the most security conscious organizations. Concepts like the “Rugged Software” are gaining traction, but have yet to make a deep impact. How does an organization – short of a breach – justify expending critical resources to build more secure software? Is it realistic to believe that an industry-driven solution such as the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) can drive secure software investment before headlines prompt government to demand top-down regulation to “fix” the security of software?
This presentation will attempt to characterize the current landscape of software security from the perspective of a practitioner who regularly works with Fortune 500 chief security officers to build business cases for software security initiatives. Given the current status of software security efforts, and the struggles for business justification, industry would be well-served to look further afield to other competing models to identify future justification efforts. There is still much that can be learned from models outside the security and information technology fields. For example, the history of food safety provides lessons that the software security industry can draw from when developing justification models. We can also learn from building code adoption by earthquake-prone communities and draw comparisons to communities that have less rigorous building codes. Finally, we can learn much from certain financial regulations that have or have not improved confidence in our financial system.
dan _at_ denimgroup.com