Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Buggy Software is Your Fault, Too

Hackers’ preferred method of breaking into businesses these days is exploiting flaws in Web browsers, word-processing documents and other software. The reason these applications are vulnerable to attack: No one wants the responsibility for making sure this software is secure.

The man pointing the finger at, well, everybody is Howard Schmidt, a security consultant who used to be the top-ranking cyber-security official in George W. Bush’s Whitehouse. Schmidt spoke to the Business Technology Blog while waiting in line to get the software on his iPhone upgraded - although he called us on his BlackBerry.

The problem, according to Schmidt, is that the people who oversee software development focus on finishing projects on time and under budget. It’s not that security is incompatible with coding cheaply and fast, but it does make development a little more complicated, because programmers can’t take many of the shortcuts they’re used to. Schmidt says that writing software with security in mind from the outset is the tech equivalent of building a house without flammable materials.

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