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Code Vulnerability in Software Security

Code Vulnerability and Software Security

Software Development is a field in which you can never be too careful. Code vulnerabilities open the door to cyber-attacks. That costs businesses millions of dollars every year. They represent a continuous challenge to digital agencies. Over 26,000 code vulnerabilities were discovered in 2023. That is three times more than the previous year’s count.

According to a Veracode report, three out of four software products had vulnerabilities in code as of 2020. Thus, there is over a 75% chance your product has weak spots. We live in a world where we rely on technology to help us do almost everything. That’s why the security of software products is so crucial. Let's explore the basics of the most common vulnerability types. 

What is a Code Vulnerability?

Code vulnerabilities are flaws, weak points, glitches, and other security issues in software products. As mentioned, they allow malicious actors to take advantage of them and wreak havoc across networks. Code vulnerabilities provide attack vectors that bad actors can exploit to cause serious damage to your app. 

Thanks to them, threat actors gain unauthorized access to your system. That allows them to handle sensitive data. Weak points and code issues or flaws can compromise the system's integrity, confidentiality, and availability. Bad coding habits and practices used in the development process normally cause flaws. Most security holes happen due to programming errors, design flaws, or security misconfigurations. 

Most Common Code Vulnerabilities

1. SQL Injection

SQL Injection is perhaps the most common type of security vulnerability. Injection flaws occur when an attacker inserts malicious SQL statements into a query. That allows for unauthorized access to databases and data manipulation. SQL injections are similar to general command injections that target operating systems. They are often caused by improper input validation. The concatenation of user-supplied data with SQL queries is another common cause. 

2. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

XXS enables attackers to inject malicious code into web pages. Hackers can insert special characters to control how the system interprets data, which can lead to session hijacking, phishing, and other attacks. XSS attacks usually arise from inadequate input validation and sanitization of user content. Notably, XSS attacks do not target the website's source code. They rather exploit weak points in the website's handling of user content. This way, XSS attacks indirectly control the website's behavior. 

3. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

CSRF exploits the trust between a website and verified users. Attackers trick users into performing unwanted actions by forging malicious requests. It often occurs when application developers fail to implement the right anti-CSRF measures. CSFR can lead to unapproved trades and data breaches. That's why it's important to limit the scope of user privileges. Verifying the referrer header and using unique tokens can also help prevent CSRF.

4. Remote Code Execution (RCE)

RCE allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on a targeted system. That results in complete system compromise and unauthorized access. It can also cause data theft and ransomware deployment. RCE often arises from poor input validation. It can also happen due to insecure deserialization of user-controlled data. RCE is a very critical security issue. That is because it grants attackers direct control over the system. 

5. Insecure Direct Object References (IDOR)

IDOR attacks occur when an app exposes internal object references without appropriate access controls. Attackers exploit this weakness to access unauthorized resources or manipulate sensitive data. IDOR can also lead to access to servers with sensitive data and actions on the system. Similar to RCE attacks, IDOR can also cause complete system compromise. 

How To Avoid Code Vulnerabilities?

These are some of the best practices to prevent the above-mentioned code vulnerabilities.

1. Secure Coding. Your team should implement secure coding practices in their development workflows. Adhering to industry standards and guidelines using secure frameworks and libraries is necessary to avoid critical vulnerabilities or insecure software. Ensure you regularly update software components.

2. Input Validation and Sanitization. Input validation involves checking user input against rules and constraints. The goal is to verify the input's integrity. That helps prevent malicious data from being used in the code. In other words, it can avoid XSS and code injection attacks, such as SQL injection. Sanitation involves cleaning and filtering user input to ensure safety and reliability. 

3. Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP). Applying PoLP will limit users' access to only what they need to perform their tasks. PoLP helps developers ensure their code has limited access to sensitive resources, including system files and databases. It can also help minimize the potential damage if the system is compromised. 

4. Regular Security Testing. Regular security tests are one of the best methods to prevent security risks in your code. Testing allows businesses to detect security gaps, prioritize remediation efforts, and keep track of vulnerability status. It helps ensure that security protocols and controls are in place to protect sensitive data. Some examples of this include application penetration testing and static application security testing (static analysis).

5. Patch Management. Stay updated with the latest security patches and software updates. Weak points in third-party components can put your application at risk. Ensure you apply timely patches and fresh updates to prevent potential threats. Software vendors build patches, making things simpler for developers. They need to check for security updates and apply them promptly and regularly. 

6. Software Security Education. Give your development team regular training on best practices for secure code. It must involve common risks and best practices for secure Software Development. Foster a culture of security awareness and provide practical exercises and simulations. Finally, staying updated and adapting to new threats, future developments, and software security solutions is crucial. 

7. Code Scanning. Many robust code review tools can conduct thorough source code reviews to check for software vulnerabilities. They allow you to easily prevent the most common vulnerabilities, such as configuration errors. Code scanning tools are handy because you don't need to spend that much time on manual practices. Remember that regular code reviews and audits are essential, even if you're using a code-scanning tool. 

Why Pay Attention to Code Vulnerabilities?

Application security should be a priority for all businesses. As mentioned above, vulnerable code can cause severe damage to your product. Edgescan states the Mean Time To Remediation (MTTR) is over 50 days. There's no need to spend nearly two months fixing a problem you can prevent. That's why you should assemble a security team that quickly finds and fixes weak points in your code. Malicious actions can go beyond financial losses. 

They can cause reputational damage and legal consequences. Thorough security measures during the Software Development Lifecycle are crucial. Plus, it's key to consider open source vulnerabilities in your security practices. Code security will help you keep users' trust and comply with local regulations.


Finding issues at design time is also key to preventing a wide range of risks and illegal actions. Secure Design patterns can help you avoid identity theft, authentication credentials, or leakage of sensitive user data. Insecure design is on the OWASP top ten list of security risks for web apps. Designers' and software developers' work must reduce application code exposure to cybersecurity threats. Security plays a major role in a product's overall User Experience (UX) and success. We're facing rapid upgrades in technology, which can lead to potential new cyber threats. It's perhaps more important than ever to ensure robust security measures.