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Slashdot: Interview with Theo de Raadt [of OpenBSD]

Dec 11, 2000, 20:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Theo De Raadt)

"Would you and/or other members of the OpenBSD coders consider writing a book on secure, bug-free coding and auditing? Most programming books feature sample code that is written for pedagogical purposes. Quite often this runs contrary to how secure code should be written, leaving a gap in many a programmers knowledge. A book on audinting and how to avoid security pitfalls when coding would also make your life easier - less code to audit for OpenBSD, and more time top concentrate on nifty new features!!!"

"There is perhaps a split between the two issues you bring up. On the one side is secure coding, as in code written to be secure by the original author(s). On the other side, auditing, which is where an outsider (or an insider) later on goes and tries to clean up the mess which remains. And there is always a mess. Perhaps part of the problem is that a huge gap lies between these two. In the end though, I think that a book on such a topic would probably have to repeat the same thing every second paragraph, throughout the book: Understand the interfaces which you are coding to! Understand the interfaces which you are coding to! Most of the security (or simply bug) issues we audited out of our source tree are just that. The programmer in question was a careless slob, not paying attention to the interface he was using. The repeated nature of the same classes of bugs throughout the source tree, also showed us that most programmers learn to code by (bad) examples...."

"Has the OpenBSD team ever proposed looking into how to create a 'secured ports' tree, or some other similar system, that would ensure that many of the applications people specifically want secure platforms like OpenBSD to run could be as trusted as the platforms themselves?..."

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