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Finding Flaws In Old Application Code

Two risk-management and auditing service providers next week will unveil a framework to help customers deal with vulnerabilities in old application source code.

Companies that have installed the latest security systems and procedures to protect their networks are often surprised to discover they still have vulnerabilities -- the applications themselves. Many applications that companies use every day were written before the Internet became the main means of communications and a carrier of security threats, so they weren't designed with security in mind. That's why many of the new security threats are designed to attack legacy application source code.

Two risk-management and auditing service providers next week will unveil a framework to help customers deal with source code problem. A report called Software Security Assurance -- A Framework For Software Vulnerability And Audit will be available for downloading here . It was developed by CHL Global Associates Inc. and Ounce Labs Inc., which have 30 years of experience in security and the automated auditing of software coding and design errors.

The framework outlines multiple detailed audit checklists that customers can use to find problems in application source code. It also spells out how responsibilities should be allocated among business managers and security administrators, and encourages companies to establish security metrics, trend reporting, and documentation of controls.

Charles Le Grand, founder and CEO at CHL Global, has worked with the government on auditing, governance, and risk management for decades. He's working with about 60 software auditors and says they don't have the tools to measure vulnerabilities in old code. "It's time companies change the paradigm to protect customers, shareholders, and business partners," he says.

Ounce Labs did the research and development for Le Grand's framework and it has a tool that could help with source code vulnerability. "At least 90% of all source code is legacy-based and its vulnerability is beyond the reach of most app developers," says Jack Danahy, president and CEO at Ounce Labs. "Companies should follow best practices from the audit lists, use an audit standard to find vulnerabilities, and if the code can't be fixed, wrap the legacy service into a new app."

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