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Secure Coding: Principles and Practices by Kenneth R. van Wyk, Mark G. Graff

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3.3. Special Design Issues

Apart from the security design process that we've outlined previously, there are several additional design issues that you're likely to face.

3.3.1. Retrofitting an Application

Although we have concentrated so far on how you can enhance security in an application as you develop it, we do not mean to imply that without access to source code you are powerless. In fact, several significant security techniques can be applied to existing applications. Some effectively allow you to "retrofit" security into an application as an element of overall system design.

The reasons for wanting to (or having to) retrofit security into an application are varied. Sometimes the reason can be as simple as necessity. Suppose that you're running an application found to have security flaws or perhaps lacking some important security features. You don't have access to its source code, and you have an overwhelming business need to continue to run it. If you find yourself in that position, the best solution is probably to engineer a security retrofit to the application. (A word of caution, though: you must be sure to treat the retrofit itself with the same level of scrutiny and care that you would for any business-critical software development effort.)

Although many of the approaches we present have been in use for decades, they have gained popularity and importance in the last few years. We think that is because of a widening awareness of just how hard it is to write vulnerability-free ...

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