Securing the Design Process
Microsofts security efforts have borne fruit. For example, SQL Server 2000 has only had one critical alert since Service Pack 3 shipped over a year ago. For its part, Yukon is being designed using a three-part process. First, Microsoft sends program managers, developers and testers through security training so theyll understand what the most common types of flaws are in developers code. Such common flaws include opening ports, buffer overruns and integer overruns, Rizzo said. Next, as product features are being designed, product managers follow a ritual of asking security-related questions about the feature, such as, whats the security of this feature? Does it open ports? And, is it vulnerable to injection attacks?Only then are developers free to go off and build a given feature.Microsoft has also been staffing up its SWAT teams, which consist of ethical hackers who try to crack Yukon and other SQL Server versions. Rizzo said that recently Microsoft added "a whole bunch" of ethical hackers to the SQL Server team but declined to name how many new staffers were brought on-board. "Of the 1,000 people who work on SQL Server, securitys top of mind," he said. "Even though we have a SWAT team, everyones on the SWAT team." Check out eWEEK.coms Database Center at http://database.eweek.com for more database news, views and analysis. Be sure to add our eWEEK.com database news feed to your RSS newsreader:
The third leg of security comes in with the use of automated tools that scan each line of code, plucking out commonly made mistakes. Such automated tools are a help. Line-by-line, manual code analysis was performed on SQL Server 2000 and 7.0a process that took some three months, Rizzo saidback when Microsofts security push resulted in Service Pack 3.