Secure Software Design

Security Training Series


Intermediate and Beyond

4 Days

Course Overview

Secure Software Design is an intensive security training course, essential for experienced software designers and architects who need to engineer secure enterprise-supported web applications. In addition to teaching basic vulnerabilities, this course digs deep into sound processes and practices that apply to the entire software development lifecycle.  

In this course, students thoroughly examine issues and risks associated with web applications, including XML processing, rich interfaces, and both RESTful and SOAP-based web services.  Students will repeatedly attack and then understand the tactical and strategic defensive measure for various assets associated with fully functional web applications and web services.  This hands-on approach drives home the mechanics of how to secure web applications in the most practical of terms.

Security is costly, and this course focuses both on how to effectively use resources and where to apply those resources. During the course, students are presented with a list of actionable items to fully leverage the results of applying secure practices. Attack phases and types of defensive controls are related to the activities that the students participate in during the lab and group activities. Students will develop an understanding of the importance of defaulting to a secure position and deviating from that as is appropriate. The rationale for deviating from the most secure position is based on understanding risk and threats.

Security experts agree that the least effective approach to security is "penetrate and patch".  It is far more effective to "bake" security into an application throughout its lifecycle.  After spending significant time trying to defend a poorly designed (from a security perspective) web application, developers are ready to learn how to build secure web applications starting at project inception.  The final portion of this course builds on the previously learned mechanics for building defenses by exploring how design and analysis can be used to build stronger applications from the beginning of the software lifecycle. 

Course Objectives

Students who attend Secure Software Design will leave the course armed with the skills required to recognize software vulnerabilities (actual and potential) and design defenses for those vulnerabilities. This course quickly introduces developers to the various types of threats against their software.  The concept and process of Threat Modeling is introduced as a key enabler for architecting effective and appropriate security for software and information assets.

Our engaging instructors and mentors are highly experienced practitioners who bring years of current "on-the-job" experience into every classroom. Guided by our expert team, attendees will learn to:

  • Understand the concepts and terminology behind defensive coding
  • Learn the entire spectrum of threats and attacks that take place against software applications in today's world
  • Recognize and characterize existing and planned defensive controls
  • Relate controls and activities to the phases of a typical exploit
  • Understand and implement the processes and measures associated with the security development lifecycle (SDL)
  • Identify appropriate security objectives and regulations including evolving privacy considerations
  • Develop a list of risk escalators as well as potential mitigations based on an understanding of vulnerabilities
  • Recognize design features that can significantly increase an application’s attack surface
  • Build an asset inventory and begin the process of prioritizing their value
  • Work with a baseline asset inventory to develop an initial asset inventory for a software application
  • Understand and apply defensive options to data assets
  • Perform attack surface analysis and associated mitigations
  • Identify the need for defensive measures on data flows that cross trust boundaries
  • Understand and use Threat Modeling as a tool in identifying software vulnerabilities based on realistic threats against meaningful assets
  • Use Threat Modeling to identify potential vulnerabilities in a real-life case study
  • Perform a category-based vulnerability analysis to help ensure that any gaps are identified

Need different skills or topics?  If your team requires different topics or tools, additional skills or custom approach, this course may be further adjusted to accommodate.  We offer additional application development, secure coding, secure software development, hacking, database security, bug hunting and other related topics that may be blended with this course for a track that best suits your needs. Our team will collaborate with you to understand your needs and will target the course to focus on your specific learning objectives and goals.

Course Prerequisites

This is an intermediate -level design and analysis course, designed for experienced web developers who wish to get up and running on designing well-defended software applications. Real-world programming experience is highly recommended for code reviews, but is not required.

Please see the Related Courses Tab for Pre-Requisite course specifics and links, links to similar courses you might review as an alternative, as well as suggested Next-Step Follow-On Courses and Learning Path recommendations.

Course Agenda

Please note that this list of topics is based on our standard course offering, evolved from typical industry uses and trends. We’ll work with you to tune this course and level of coverage to target the skills you need most. Topics, agenda and labs are subject to change, and may adjust during live delivery based on audience interests, skill-level and participation.

Session: Foundation for Securing Web Applications 

Lesson: Why Hunt Bugs?

  • Security and Insecurity
  • Dangerous Assumptions
  • Attack Vectors
  • Lab: Case Study in Failure

Lesson: Removing Bugs

  • Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP)
  • OWASP Top Ten Overview
  • Web Application Security Consortium
  • CERT Secure Coding Standards
  • Bug Hunting Mistakes to Avoid
  • Tools and Resources

Lesson: Principles of Information Security

  • Security Is a Lifecycle Issue
  • Minimize Attack Surface Area
  • Layers of Defense: Tenacious D
  • Compartmentalize
  • Consider All Application States
  • Do NOT Trust the Untrusted

Session: Understanding Vulnerabilities 101

Lesson: Unvalidated Data

  • Buffer Overflows
  • Integer Arithmetic Vulnerabilities
  • Unvalidated Data: Crossing Trust Boundaries
  • Defending Trust Boundaries
  • Whitelisting vs Blacklisting
  • Demo: Defending Trust Boundaries

Lesson: A1: Injection

  • Injection Flaws
  • SQL Injection Attacks Evolve
  • Drill Down on Stored Procedures
  • Other Forms of Injection
  • Minimizing Injection Flaws
  • Demo: Defending Against SQL Injection

Lesson: A2: Broken Authentication

  • Quality and Protection of Authentication Data
  • Handling Passwords on Server Side
  • SessionID Risk Reduction
  • HttpOnly and Security Headers
  • Demo: Defending Authentication

Lesson: A3: Sensitive Data Exposure

  • Protecting Data Can Mitigate Impact
  • In-Memory Data Handling
  • Secure Pipes
  • Failures in TLS/SSL Framework

Lesson: A4: XML External Entities (XXE)

  • XML Parser Coercion
  • XML Attacks: Structure
  • XML Attacks: Injection
  • Safe XML Processing
  • Demo: Safe XML Processing

Lesson: A5: Broken Access Control

  • Access Control Issues
  • Excessive Privileges
  • Insufficient Flow Control
  • Unprotected URL/Resource Access
  • Examples of Shabby Access Control
  • Sessions and Session Management
  • Demo: Unsafe Direct Object References
  • Lab: Spotlight: Verizon

Session: Understanding Vulnerabilities 102

Lesson: A6: Security Misconfiguration

  • System Hardening: IA Mitigation
  • Application Whitelisting
  • Least Privileges
  • Anti-Exploitation
  • Secure Baseline

Lesson: A7: Cross Site Scripting (XSS)

  • XSS Patterns
  • Persistent XSS
  • Reflective XSS
  • DOM-Based XSS
  • Best Practices for Untrusted Data
  • Demo: Defending Against XSS



Lesson: A8/9: Deserialization/Vulnerable Components

  • Deserialization Issues
  • Identifying Serialization and Deserializations
  • Vulnerable Components
  • Software Inventory
  • Managing Updates
  • Lab: Spotlight: Equifax

Lesson: A10: Insufficient Logging and Monitoring

  • Fingerprinting a Web Site
  • Error-Handling Issues
  • Logging In Support of Forensics
  • Solving DLP Challenges

Lesson: Spoofing, CSRF, and Redirects

  • Name Resolution Vulnerabilities
  • Fake Certs and Mobile Apps
  • Targeted Spoofing Attacks
  • Cross Site Request Forgeries (CSRF)
  • CSRF Defenses
  • Demo: Cross-Site Request Forgeries

Lesson: Cryptography Overview

  • Strong Encryption
  • Message Digests
  • Encryption/Decryption
  • Keys and Key Management
  • NIST Recommendations

Session: Secure Development Lifecycle (SDL)

Lesson: SDL Overview

  • Attack/Defense Basics
  • Types of Security Controls
  • Attack Phases: Offensive Actions and Defensive Controls
  • Secure Software Development Processes
  • Shifting Left
  • Actionable Items Moving Forward
  • Lab: Design Study Review

Lesson: SDL In Action

  • Risk Escalators
  • Risk Escalator Mitigation
  • SDL Phases
  • Actions for each SDL Phase
  • SDL Best Practices
  • Lab: Risk Escalators

Lesson: Asset Analysis

  • Asset Analysis Process
  • Types of Application-Related Assets
  • Adding Risk Escalators
  • Discovery and Recon
  • Lab: Design Study Asset Analysis

Lesson: Threat Modeling Overview

  • Threat Modeling Terminology
  • Threat Modeling Process
  • Attack Surface Analysis and Reduction
  • Threat Identification
  • Threat Modeling Best Practices
  • Lab: Attack Surface Analysis

Lesson: Threat Modeling in Action

  • Modeling Using Data Flow Diagrams
  • Pushing the Modeling Process
  • Using Model to Identify Potential Threats
  • Category-Based Vulnerability Analysis
  • Mitigating Identified Vulnerabilities
  • Lab: Threat Modeling
  • Lab: Vulnerability Analysis

Session: Moving Forward with Application Security

Lesson: Applications: What Next?

  • Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures
  • CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous SW Errors
  • Strength Training: Project Teams/Developers
  • Strength Training: IT Organizations
  • Leveraging Common AppSec Practices and Control
  • Lab: Recent Incidents
  • Lab: Spotlight: Capital One

Lesson: Making Application Security Real

  • Cost of Continually Reinventing
  • Paralysis by Analysis
  • Actional Application Security
  • Additional Tools for the Toolbox

Additional Topics: Time Permitting

Lesson: Security Design Patterns

  • Authentication Enforcer
  • Authorization Enforcer
  • Intercepting Validator
  • Secure Base Action
  • Secure Logger
  • Secure Pipe
  • Secure Service Proxy
  • Intercepting Web Agent

Course Materials

Hands-on Setup Made Simple! All course materials, data sets, course software (limited version, for course use only), course notes and related resources (as applicable) are provided for attendees in our easy access, no installation required, remote lab environment for the duration of the course. In most cases, we can also offer local (non-cloud) set up as an alternative.  Our tech team will help set up, test and verify lab access for each attendee prior to the course start date, ensuring a smooth start to class and successful hands-on course experience for all participants. 

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