Hi Chris, My experience is that, like most engineers, most software developers want to improve their skills and that, as a group, they hate making easily-avoidable mistakes of any sort. Training that focuses on reinforcing their existing skills in design and development and then works methodically to give them the extra layer of knowledge to make the code not only function, but also behave with respect to security, is almost always well received. Any training that comes across as, "You're doing it wrong, stop everything and do it this way" will almost always be ignored. No one has time for that.
Internal groups and others who are getting started in developer training tend to create "bug parade" kinds of materials. You'll see slide after slide of five-line code snippets while the instructor says "That's wrong, don't do that." That kind of mistake detection is often so easily automatable these days, that buying or building training for it, and taking all your developers out of action for a day or two to run through it, may not be the best choice. As you alluded to, we need to teach developers how to actually write secure code. The problem, however, is that the march of development methods, languages, frameworks, architectures, and so on means there usually cannot be a single approach for, by way of example, coding input validation routines. On the whole, the industry is at the stage where we need to teach developers to recognize situations where "security goes here," and give them the reasoning skills and prescriptive guidance to code their way out of the problem in their particular environment. This kind of defensive programming training seems to be most valuable these days and it takes real experience and real experts to create and deliver such material. Meanwhile, it takes more than educated developers to produce software that behaves appropriately in the face of attack. The requirements people also need some help and it's unlikely the business analysts, the architects, and the testers are sufficiently considering the non-functional security aspects of the thing they are trying to bring to life. Of cause, the operations folks also need to understand their part in the "secure software" lifecycle. In addition, executives need to understand how to govern and managers need to understand how to facilitate. By way of full disclosure, I've spent a great deal of time building such a cross-cutting curriculum at Cigital, which we've delivered to a variety of financial services, independent software vendor, and other organizations. As for pricing, I've seen everything from a few hundred dollars per person for material you could effectively download yourself to $12,000 or more per day for a few slides and one big exercise that may have nothing to do with a group's particular needs. I've also seen a few examples of some really good stuff that just "speaks to me." Organizations must make sure they're getting an instructor that thoroughly understands the material and that they've worked with the training provider to ensure the material is appropriately customized to their needs. Effectiveness is in the eye of the beholder. The actual impact of developer training alone may take months to show up in even the most mature dashboard. More broad training across each of the key roles, appropriately supported by prescriptive guidance and automation, has historically shown a recognizable impact (e.g., finding many more security-related bugs much earlier in the SDLC) much more quickly. I recently put together some (long) thoughts on an approach for training. You can see them at http://www.cigital.com/justiceleague/2007/06/25/training-material-training-and-behavior-modification-part-1-of-3-%e2%80%93-training-material/. --Sammy. Sammy Migues Director, Knowledge Management and Training 703.404.5830 - http://www.cigital.com<http://www.cigital.com/> ________________________________ From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of McCown, Christian M Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2007 7:23 PM To: email@example.com Subject: [SC-L] Software Security Training for Developers What are folks' experiences with software security training for developers? By this, I'm referring to teaching developers how to write secure code. Ex. things like how to actually code input validation routines, what "evil" functions and libraries to avoid, how to handle exceptions without divulging too much info, etc. Not "how to hack applications". There are quality courses and training that show you how to break into apps--which are great, but my concern is that if you are a developer (vs. a security analyst, QA type, pen-tester, etc.),even when you know what could happen, unless you've been specifically taught how to implement these concepts in your language/platform of choice (ASP .NET, C#, Java, etc.), you're not getting the most bang for the buck from them. What vendors teach it? How much does it cost? Actual impact realized? Tx ____ Chris McCown, GSEC(Gold) Intel Corporation * (916) 377-9428 | * [EMAIL PROTECTED]<mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
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