What is CERT? Overview of CERT Secure Coding

By Fawad Malik

As you write code, you must ensure it is secure and safeguarded from potential security threats. That’s why CERT is essential. CERT is a secure coding standard that supports commonly used programming languages, like C, C++ and Java. The CERT Secure Coding standard was developed, and is maintained, by the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

The rules and recommendations outlined in CERT target insecure coding practices and undefined behaviors that lead to security risks. Each rule and recommendation is developed by members of the software development and software security communities.

Why CERT Secure Coding Is Important

CERT helps to ensure that software developed with coding languages — such as C, C++ and Java — is secure and reliable. The aim of secure coding standards like CERT is to not only detect security risks, but to provide guidance on improving the security and quality of that code. By using CERT, you ensure that your software is safeguarded from potential vulnerabilities.

What Is a CERT Risk Assessment?

For each CERT guideline, there is an associated risk assessment to help determine the potential security consequences of violating that specific rule or recommendation. There are three sections of the CERT risk assessment: severity, likelihood and remediation cost. Each risk assessment section is assigned a value between 1 and 3, based upon the results of the assessment. This helps determine the severity of the violation.

Why You Should Use a SAST Tool to Complement CERT Secure Coding

The most effective way to ensure your code is secure and safeguarded from security vulnerabilities is to use a static application security testing (SAST) tool. A SAST tool identifies and eliminates security vulnerabilities and software defects early in the software development process. This helps ensure that your software is secure, reliable and compliant.