Developers are missing out discussions on cyber security risks because they are too hard, slow and expensive, according to the National Cyber Security Centre.
The National Cyber Security Centre will invest ‘time and effort’ in understanding the demands developers are under – Photo credit: Pexels
A blogpost on the centre’s website sets out the centre’s plans to work with the Research Institute for the Science of Cyber Security – which was formed as part of the UK’s cyber security strategy and involves four UK universities – to improve its understanding of developers and the development process.
It said that developers need to be supported to make better security decisions, and that in order to do so, security professionals needed to understand how they work.
As a reminder of the competing demands developers are under, the post noted that they have to consider the requests of the chief executive, security practitioners, accountants, legal experts and safety consultants, as well as having to consider the needs of the end user.
In addition, it said, not all developers have domain expertise in cryptography, or the knowledge they need to navigate past all the potential security pitfalls in a range of tools, and are under pressure to get code into production on an almost continuous basis – noting that in 2014 Amazon released 50 million changes, equivalent to more than one a second.
All of this “causes headaches” for developers, it said. “Add to this a constantly adjusting threat landscape, and we’ve a situation where the conversations around security risk being left out because they are too hard, too slow and too expensive.”
In order to address this, the centre has said it plans to create a multidisciplinary community of academics, practitioners and government experts that will research the challenges faced by developers.
“Whilst stamping our feet and cursing developers might be cathartic, it clearly isn’t having much effect,” the post said.
“We need to invest time and effort into understanding developers and the development process, so that we can re-focus our efforts on creating developer-friendly approaches.
“We need to motivate and support these professionals to make better security decisions.”
The centre plans to issue a call to the community for research proposals that the RISCS will fund over the next financial year to improve the situation.