Life in the Digital Crosshairs

Life in the Digital Crosshairs

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Learn How to Implement the SDL

Learn How to Implement the SDL

Read about the simplified implementation of the Microsoft SDL.

Get the Free Microsoft SDL Tools

Get the Free Microsoft SDL Tools

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  • What is the Security Development Lifecycle ?
  • The Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) is a software development process that helps developers build more secure software and address security compliance requirements while reducing development cost.
  • Training

  • Requirements

  • Design

  • Implementation

  • Verification

  • Release

  • Response

Click to select a phase

Training Phase

  • This practice is a prerequisite for implementing the SDL. Foundational concepts for building better software include secure design, threat modeling, secure coding, security testing, and best practices surrounding privacy.

Requirements Phase

Design Phase

  • Considering security and privacy concerns early helps minimize the risk of schedule disruptions and reduce a project's expense.
  • Reducing the opportunities for attackers to exploit a potential weak spot or vulnerability requires thoroughly analyzing overall attack surface and includes disabling or restricting access to system services, applying the principle of least privilege, and employing layered defenses wherever possible.
  • Applying a structured approach to threat scenarios during design helps a team more effectively and less expensively identify security vulnerabilities, determine risks from those threats, and establish appropriate mitigations.

Implementation Phase

  • Publishing a list of approved tools and associated security checks (such as compiler/linker options and warnings) helps automate and enforce security practices easily at a low cost. Keeping the list regularly updated means the latest tool versions are used and allows inclusion of new security analysis functionality and protections.
  • Analyzing all project functions and APIs and banning those determined to be unsafe helps reduce potential security bugs with very little engineering cost. Specific actions include using header files, newer compilers, or code scanning tools to check code for functions on the banned list, and then replacing them with safer alternatives.
  • Analyzing the source code prior to compile provides a scalable method of security code review and helps ensure that secure coding policies are being followed.

Verification Phase

  • Performing run-time verification checks software functionality using tools that monitor application behavior for memory corruption, user privilege issues, and other critical security problems.
  • Inducing program failure by deliberately introducing malformed or random data to an application helps reveal potential security issues prior to release while requiring modest resource investment.
  • Reviewing attack surface measurement upon code completion helps ensure that any design or implementation changes to an application or system have been taken into account, and that any new attack vectors created as a result of the changes have been reviewed and mitigated including threat models.

Release Phase

  • Preparing an Incident Response Plan is crucial for helping to address new threats that can emerge over time. It includes identifying appropriate security emergency contacts and establishing security servicing plans for code inherited from other groups within the organization and for licensed third-party code.
  • Deliberately reviewing all security activities that were performed helps ensure software release readiness. The Final Security Review (FSR) usually includes examining threat models, tools outputs, and performance against the quality gates and bug bars defined during the Requirements Phase.
  • Certifying software prior to a release helps ensure security and privacy requirements were met. Archiving all pertinent data is essential for performing post-release servicing tasks and helps lower the long-term costs associated with sustained software engineering.

Response Phase

  • Assess your security
  • Discover ways to improve your security practices.