Michal Zalewski, a security researcher at Google, recently wrote a guest editorial for ZDNet entitled “Security Engineering: Broken Promises”. The article lays out a series of issues with the security industry, specifically looking at an inability to provide any suitable frameworks for software assurance or code security.
We have in essence completely failed to come up with even the most rudimentary, usable frameworks for understanding and assessing the security of modern software; and spare for several brilliant treatises and limited-scale experiments, we do not even have any real-world success stories to share. The focus is almost exclusively on reactive, secondary security measures: vulnerability management, malware and attack detection, sandboxing, and so forth; and perhaps on selectively pointing out flaws in somebody else’s code. The frustrating, jealously guarded secret is that when it comes to actually enabling others to develop secure systems, we deliver far less value than could be expected.