Adding Security Review to an Existing Development Process in Java

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Adding Security Review to an Existing Development Process
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security-related tasks such as a design review or a penetration test Logically extending this concept, checkpoints seem like a natural place to use a static analysis tool The down side to this approach is that programmers might put off thinking about security until the milestone is upon them, at which point other milestone obligations can push security off to the sidelines If you re going to wait for milestones to use static analysis, make sure you build some teeth into the process The consequences for ignoring security need to be immediately obvious and known to all ahead of time What Happens to the Results When people think through the tool adoption process, they sometimes forget that most of the work comes after the tool is run It s important to decide ahead of time how the actual code review will be performed Output Feeds a Release Gate The security team processes and prioritizes the tool s output as part of a checkpoint at a project milestone The development team receives the prioritized results along with the security team s recommendations about what needs to be xed The development team then makes decisions about which problems to x and which to classify as accepted risks (Development teams sometimes use the results from a penetration test the same way) The security team should review the development team s decisions and escalate cases where it appears that the development team is taking on more risk than it should If this type of review can block a project from reaching a milestone, the release gate has real teeth If programmers can simply ignore the results, they will have no motivation to make changes The gate model is a weak approach to security for the same reason that penetration testing is a weak approach to security: It s reactive Even though the release gate is not a good long-term solution, it can be an effective stepping stone The hope is that the programmers will eventually get tired of having their releases waylaid by the security team and decide to take a more proactive approach A Central Authority Doles Out Individual Results A core group of tool users can look at the reported problems for one or more projects and pick the individual issues to send to the programmers responsible for the code in question In such cases, the static analysis tools should report everything it can; the objective is to leave no stone unturned
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3 Static Analysis as Part of the Code Review Process
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False positives are less of a concern because a skilled analyst processes the results prior to the nal report With this model, the core group of tool users becomes skilled with the tools in short order and becomes adept at going through large numbers of results A Central Authority Sets Pinpoint Focus Because of the large number of projects that might exist in an organization, a central distribution approach to results management can become constrained by the number of people reviewing results, even if reviewers are quite ef cient However, it is not unusual for a large fraction of the acute security pain to be clustered tightly around just a small number of types of issues With this scenario, the project team will limit the tool to a small number of speci c problem types, which can grow or change over time according to the risks the organization faces Ultimately, de ning a set of inscope problem types works well as a centrally managed policy, standard, or set of guidelines It should change only as fast as the development team can adapt and account for all the problems already in scope On the whole, this approach gives people the opportunity to become experts incrementally through hands-on experience with the tool over time Start Small, Ratchet Up Security tools tend to come precon gured to detect as much as they possibly can This is really good if you re trying to gure out what a tool is capable of detecting, but it can be overwhelming if you re assigned the task of going through every issue No matter how you answer the adoption questions, our advice here is the same: Start small Turn off most of the things the tool detects and concentrate on a narrow range of important and well-understood problems Broaden out only when there s a process in place for using the tool and the initial batch of problems is under control No matter what you do, a large body of existing code won t become perfect overnight The people in your organization will thank you for helping them make some prioritization decisions
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