>From my experience with secappdev.org (http://secappdev.org), a
not-for-profit organization set up to create security awareness and
improve skills in the developer community, I find myself in agreement
with many of the points that Sammy raises.
Development is not only about coding. secappdev tends to pay
relatively little attention to coding; adoption of new technologies
offering novel opportunities to shoot yourself in the foot is so
rapid, platforms so varied and applications so different that we have
found teaching secure software engineering principles to be a better
investment for both students and teachers alike. While it is certainly
true that what ultimately matters is the code, conventional wisdom has
it that coding only accounts for about 20% of the development effort.
The rest of the time is spent in specification, design, test,
deployment and project management. We feel it is counter-productive to
draw sharp distinctions between these various activities, they all
need to be done well to deliver a succesful project. So we spend
considerable time looking at their security implications.

Apart from chiming in with Sammy, I would also like to point out that
our target audience are application developers and their main focus is
definitely not security, nor should it be: their job is to create
value by adding functionality. Rather than teaching them to become
security experts, we try to teach them strategies for getting away
with as little security knowledge as possible so that they can focus
on their core concerns.
So one of the things we do is to make sure that participants have a
good grasp of the security services offered by application platforms.
An example of an architectural level discussion would be the choice of
platform and its impact on security as well as how to mitigate the

Effective security teaching imparts a mindset, the body of knowledge
is incidental. So we have a strong commitment to teach small groups
with plenty of opportunity for interaction and immersion. At the next
presentation, we are increasing the number of workshop sessions
requiring participants to actively participate in problem-solving.

So far, all secappdev.org presentations have been in Belgium and that
may be a little out of the way for some/most of you. However,
recordings of most of the last presentation are available from the web
pages with the descriptions of individual sessions - mail me if you
need fuller instructions.
The next presentation is planned for the week starting March 3rd 2008.
This will be a dual-track event. I hope to be able to publish the
program very soon.



On 8/17/07, Sammy Migues <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> 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
> ________________________________
> On Behalf Of McCown, Christian M
> Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2007 7:23 PM
> To: sc-l@securecoding.org
> 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]
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