IDG News Service - WASHINGTON -- Software vendors need automated tools that look for bugs in their code, but it may be a decade before many of those tools are mature and widely used, said the former director of cybersecurity for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Creating software assurance tools was one long-term focus of the DHS National Cybersecurity Division during Amit Yoran's tenure there, Yoran said today during the E-Gov Institute Homeland Security and Information Assurance Conferences in Washington.
About 95% of software bugs come from 19 "common, well-understood" programming mistakes, Yoran said, and his division pushed for automation tools that comb software code for those mistakes.
"Today's developers ... oftentimes don't have the academic discipline of software engineering and software development and training around what characteristics would create flaws in the program or lead to bugs," Yoran said.
Government research into some such tools is in its infancy, however, he added. "This cycle will take years if not decades to complete," he said. "We're realistically a decade or longer away from the fruits of these efforts in software assurance."
Yoran, who resigned from his DHS position in September after being on the job for a year, hinted at why he left, but sidestepped a question about the reasons. In the private sector, he had a "real objective" on how to move forward, he said.
"When you move into a strategic and somewhat ill-defined role of 'protect cyberspace,' that's a very difficult mission to get your arms around," he said. "You show up to work on a Monday morning, you're ready to put your fingers to the keyboard, you've got a team of folks working with you, what do you do ... to secure cyberspace from within the Department of Homeland Security?"
Most Internet resources are owned by the private sector, and the U.S. government has been hesitant to pass cybersecurity mandates, noted Yoran, former vice president of worldwide managed security services at Symantec Corp. With no operational or regulatory control over most of the Internet, the goal of securing cyberspace at DHS was difficult, he said.
Asked if that lack of authority was a reason for leaving the post, Yoran said his successor will need to "look at go-forward issues" in cybersecurity that the division can best address.
Yoran, however, defended President George W. Bush's National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, released in February 2003. The strategy, which sets out five major cybersecurity recommendations, did not advocate regulation, and the White House took the right approach in developing those recommendations by consulting with private industry, Yoran said.
"As the Department of Homeland
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Mobile Policy Checklist Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Securing BYOD Mobile computing is becoming so ubiquitous that people no longer bat an eye seeing someone working two devices simultaneously. Individuals and organizations are...
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Streamline Software Asset Management, Compose a software Management Symphony Keeping track of your organization's software is easy with effective software management solutions from CDW. View the videos in our software solutions channel
- Druva inSync: Endpoint Data Protection & Governance CLICK HERE to watch this video about protecting corporate data on laptops and mobile devices, sponsored by Druva. All Security White Papers | Webcasts