Secure Coding Practices in Java

Java programming language

Java, being one of the popular platforms among the coders, needs special attention with reference to security. Although, one can easily ensure having an overall secure environment by using different security measures, such as windows 10 auto connect VPN, or some other VPN as per the operating system. However, these tools do not ensure secure coding practices. For this, the developers have to manually apply the best practices that ensure secure and error-free coding.

While Java does offer numerous useful secure coding features, a slight glitch while using these features can conversely lead to more problems and vulnerabilities. Therefore, the developers need to remain cautious while using the Java platform or any third-party libraries.

Addressing this issue, Meng et al. ICSE’18, conducted a thorough study about the secure coding practices in Java. They not only focus on the best secure coding practices, but also highlighted the vulnerabilities of the platform, and the challenges faced by the developers. In their study, they focused on StackOverflow posts to elaborate on the insecure and secure coding practice to the developers. The posts covered three primary domains of Java security – Java platform, Java EE security, and the third-party security frameworks, such as Spring Security (SS).

Meng et al. worked out to expose how most professionals use the Java security APIs and how they are different from the actual intended use. They explained that because of these deviations between the intended and real-world use, different vulnerabilities may arise which ultimately affect efficiency and productivity. Some developers even faced troubles deciphering the correct usage of the APIs.

Hence, Meng et al. have shared valuable recommendations about the correct use of Java security APIs.

For Developers

  • Test the features for correct implementation.
  • Avoiding temporarily disabling security checks while performing fixes during development.
  • Review the solutions from SO administrators for security functionalities before implementing as they may misguide the developer by adding false warnings.

For Library Designers

  • Deprecate APIs with broken security guarantees.
  • Include error along with the root causes and possible solutions in clearly designed error reporting interfaces.
  • Design simplified APIs with default security measures.

For Tool Creators

  • Build tools that auto-detect security vulnerabilities, bugs, and problematic codes, and can also recommend possible fixes or solutions.
  • Develop techniques to prevent vulnerabilities that compare peer apps using the same APIs and warn potential abuses.
  • Discover approaches enforcing the semantic consistency among the codes, configurations, and security-related annotations.
  • Develop implementation transforming approaches that support programmatic and declarative security.