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Why does software security matter?

From the rise of the internet to an entirely interconnected world

The last 30 years have seen remarkable developments in computer technology and the emergence of the internet. It’s incredible to think about how much more connected and pervasive the internet has become since the turn of the century. Nowadays, all activities on the planet are related, in one way or another, to the web.

Early in its history, computer science was seen as something only hardcore geeks would be interested in. Nonetheless, much work has been done to get it out there and make its virtues available to everyone. Companies like Microsoft have opened our eyes to the possibilities of these hitherto enigmatic developments. Apple’s invention of the iPhone, which allows anyone, from the youngest to the oldest, to access the global web with the slide of a finger, was the most crucial step toward adoption (C. Wong, A. Stearn, D. Schleen 2018. Epic Failures in Devsecops). As a result, the software’s importance has reached new heights. Indeed, the software connects the user to the machine; it is the cornerstone of the information era we live in.

Undoubtedly, the rise of the internet thanks to software has brought humanity plenty of progress. But with benefits also come threats. The internet has made previously inaccessible resources, such as private communications and critical information, available to everyone on the planet for the first time in mankind’s history.

On the importance of security

Safety checking is at the heart of the design process in many domains. Car manufacturers, for instance, incorporate safety into the design. You don’t wonder if the security has been assessed when you buy a car as safety features are one of the benchmarks of a car’s quality. Furthermore, drivers are trained to follow the rules of the road, ensuring their and others’ safety.

The software industry is of course concerned with security. Most major organizations and governments recognize its vital role. However, flaws are frequently discovered, and too many businesses and governments continue to face high-cost data leaks and cyberattacks.

“There is a pressing need to implement more rigorous and predictable mechanisms for ensuring that products function securely, and as intended.”

Executive order on improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity.

U.S. President Joe Biden

User errors account for a sizable portion of vulnerabilities, but developers and software designers must nonetheless deliver safe and robust products. Indeed, malicious hackers exploiting a vulnerability can have disastrous consequences for businesses, organizations, or governments. Millions of computers might be compromised if an exploitable weakness in a critical system is ever used (