Adherence to secure coding standards can greatly improve a system’s resistance to targeted cyberattacks by avoiding common software flaws. For example, component failures and malicious activities can both result in bogus inputs and outputs. Graceful, predictable rejection of invalid inputs and outputs improves overall system stability by reducing the set of inconsistent and unknown states a system may enter. In buffer overflow attacks, for example, an adversary exploits weak input validation within the software to insert custom, malicious code. Strong input validation thwarts such attacks by rejecting data (including malicious input) that does not conform to the acceptable range of values. The use of automated software development tools can make it easier to identify common security flaws and insecure code patterns, such as a lack of input validation or the use of common library functions with known security weaknesses.
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