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3 Reasons Why Secure Coding is Important to Security Awareness

Reason #1 - Code Repository Security

It is poor practice for developers to commit secrets and credentials into their remote repositories. Many times developers unintentionally check in keys into a repository because the keys are embedded in code or the key store is not explicitly set for ignore in the repository. Developers must never store secret keys and logins in their codes because malicious users can leverage such information to gain access to resources such as third-party accounts or deployment environments. In 2019 and 2020, malicious users scanned public Github repositories for public keys and held hundreds of projects for ransom.

Fortunately, secret scanning capabilities can detect secret keys and credentials and inform you before anyone accesses them. Check out this tutorial to learn more about how to set up secret detection for Github and Gitlab.

Reason #2 - Password Management in Code

Although this may seem like basic knowledge for things not to do, it is common for developers to store passwords in source code. Such passwords can be easily accessed by attackers who exploit the deployment environment and pose serious application security risks.

One notable cybersecurity incident that resulted from storing passwords in the source code is the Mirai malware in 2016. This malware scanned the Telnet service on Linux-Based IoT boxes for hard-coded passwords, then used them in a brute force attack and compromised more than 400,000 devices without their owner’s knowledge. Another notable breach is the Uber breach resulting in the leaking information of 57 million customers and more than 600,000 drivers. There are source code security analysis tools like Bandit that helps developer void leaving passwords hard-coded. Check out this tutorial to learn how to scan your source code.

Reason #3 - Dependency Security

It is estimated that eighty percent of the code in today’s applications come from open source libraries and frameworks. What is more, approximately 27% of libraries available in the internet have well-known and publicly disclosed vulnerabilities. What is worrying, most organizations and individual developers continue to use the libraries in their code without addressing the vulnerabilities. Using a vulnerable library can allow malicious actors to access confidential data, perform transactions, and in some cases gain full control of an application. As such, developers must be careful with the libraries they use in their code. Learn more about scanning your dependencies for security vulnerabilities.

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