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Raising the Bar - Mainstreaming CERT C Secure Coding Rules

In this podcast, Robert Seacord describes the CERT-led effort to publish an ISO/IEC technical specification for secure coding rules for compilers and analyzers.

Software Engineering Institute



An essential element of secure coding in the C programming language is a set of well-documented and enforceable coding rules. The rules specified in this Technical Specification apply to analyzers, including static analysis tools, and C language compiler vendors that wish to diagnose insecure code beyond the requirements of the language standard. All rules are meant to be enforceable by static analysis. The application of static analysis to security has been done in an ad hoc manner by different vendors, resulting in nonuniform coverage of significant security issues. This specification enumerates secure coding rules and requires analysis engines to diagnose violations of these rules as a matter of conformance to this specification.

In this podcast, Robert Seacord, the leader of CERT's Secure Coding Initiative, discusses the 7-year journey resulting in the selection of 46 coding rules, derived from the CERT C Secure Coding Standard, for this new technical specification.

About the Speaker

Headshot of Robert Seacord

Robert C. Seacord

Robert Seacord is an SEI alumni employee.

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Headshot of Julia Allen.

Julia H. Allen

Julia Allen is an SEI alumni employee.

Julia Allen is a principal researcher within the CERT® Division at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a unit of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Allen’s areas of interest include operational resilience, security governance, and measurement and analysis. Prior to this technical assignment, …

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