Thursday, October 22, 2015

Announcing Amish Programmer Security Month

From Humble Beginnings

I started programming from a young age. I distinctly recall being in grade 5 and being curious about how some of the games in our school's computer lab worked. Having absolutely zero clue, I checked out a book from the school library on programming for the Apple IIe. My first programming experience was typing out Apple BASIC programs straight from the book and watching them fail as my two-fingered hunt-and-peck typing resulted in multiple typos.

My exposure to computers was reasonably limited until my sister and I pooled our money to buy a 100MHz 486 (with TURBO on for maximum fastness). I'm pretty sure I got the better end of that deal as I began spending a lot of time both playing video games and experimenting with QBASIC and its elaborate but confusing help files.

In high school, I took a few courses in Turbo Pascal and C++ programming. This mostly involved running through a bunch of easy exercises in each chapter and then spending the rest of our class time playing in the lab or working on our frighteningly terrible video game group project. That Pascal text book may be the only high school textbook that I've ever read from cover to cover.

After putting four years of university and another year's paid internship under my belt, I was sure that I knew almost everything I would ever need to know as a professional software developer. I had no idea just how much more I still had to learn...

What Do You Mean This Is Insecure?

With so many courses behind me, I was sure that I had covered most of the important topics. If security was so important and difficult, surely someone would have covered it in one of my course by now. I was surprised when one of my colleagues pointed out security flaws in my code. I did not even recognize it as a flaw when it was pointed out to me.

Over time, with the help of more experienced mentors, bloggers, and some job-sponsored training, I began to learn a lot more about secure coding techniques. For many of my experienced readers, these have likely become second nature. Still, everyone can stand a refresher on the basics now and again. For those who, like I once was, may still be in the dark about secure coding, you have a great deal to learn.

Amish Programmer Security Month

With that in mind, I declare the next month to be security month here at Amish Programmer. I will strive to get back on board the posting train and publish a brief post covering such security topics as injection, buffer overflows, and more.

These topics have all been covered in depth by others. I will try to present a fresh take on these topics using code snippets and straightforward examples. You can tune in in the coming weeks for a short discussion of several fundamental topics in secure coding. I hope to see you back here soon.


Joshua Ganes

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