Critical Read

Defective by design?

IEEE Center for Secure Design report.

What: A report from IEEE's Computer Society Center for Secure Design (CSD) on the top 10 security design flaws afflicting software architects.

Why: After its establishment by IEEE earlier this year, CSD brought together 13 authorities on software design from RSA, Cigital, Google, Twitter and other organizations to discuss their experiences in software security.

The workshop's aim was to expand the field of cybersecurity by directing the attention of software architects away from implementation bugs, which are commonly the focus of developers, and toward identifying fundamental design flaws that have led to security breaches in the past.

After discussing "the types of flaws they either identified in their own internal design reviews or that were available from external data," participants agreed on a list of 10 flaws that persist in software architecture.

CSD's recommendations include defining an approach that ensures that all data is explicitly validated in order to rid systems and components of "assumptions about the data they operate on" and specifying how systems should handle sensitive data to identify and rectify the "trust boundaries" data must cross in transit.

Read the full report here.

About the Author

Jonathan Lutton is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him at


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