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MITRE, CWE, and CERT Secure Coding Standards

February 2010 White Paper
Robert C. Seacord, Robert A. Martin

In this paper, the authors summarize the Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) and CERT Secure Coding Standards and the relationship between the two.

Publisher:

Software Engineering Institute

Abstract

Common Weakness Enumeration

The Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) is a unified, measurable set of software weaknesses that enables the effective discussion, description, selection, and use of software security tools and services that can find these weaknesses in source code and operational systems. The CWE also enables better understanding and management of software weaknesses related to architecture and design. It enumerates design and architectural weaknesses, as well as low-level coding and design errors.

CERT Secure Coding Standards


CERT is developing secure coding standards for commonly used programming languages such as C, C++, and Java through a broad-based community effort that includes members of the software development and software security communities. Well-documented and enforceable coding standards are essential to secure software development. Coding standards encourage programmers to follow a uniform set of rules and guidelines determined by the requirements of the project and organization, rather than by the programmer’s familiarity or preference. Once established, these standards can be used as a metric to evaluate source code (using manual or automated processes) to determine compliance with the standard.

CERT secure coding standards include guidelines for avoiding coding and implementation errors, as well as low-level design errors.