Secure Coding in C and C++

Secure Coding in C and C++ is a two day training course that provides a detailed explanation of common programming errors in C and C++ and describes how these errors can lead to vulnerable software.

    This course concentrates on security issues intrinsic to the C and C++
    programming languages and associated libraries. You will learn to identify
    vulnerabilities ensuing from common security flaws including:

    • Insecure Integer operations
    • Undefined behaviors
    • Memory safety

    This course covers specific remediation techniques for each category of
    security flaws as well as general secure coding practices that help
    prevent the introduction of vulnerabilities.

    Material in this presentation was derived from the Addison-Wesley books
    Secure Coding in C and C++ and The CERT C Secure Coding Standard.


    Day 1: Integers

    • Integer Types
    • Integer Data Types
      • Unsigned integer types
      • Wraparound
      • Signed integer types
      • Signed integer ranges
      • Overflow
      • Character types
      • Other integer types
    • Integer Conversions
      • Integer conversion rank
      • Integer promotions
      • Usual arithmetic conversions
      • Conversions to unsigned integer types
      • Conversions to signed integer types
      • Conversion implications
    • Integer Operations
      • Addition
      • Multiplication
      • Division/remainder
      • Right shift
    • Exercise: Reviewing Code for Integer Defects
      • Integer Vulnerabilities
      • Wrap around
      • Conversion error
      • Truncation
      • Non-exceptional
    • Mitigation Strategies
      • Integer type selection
      • Safe integer operations
      • Compiler Strategies
      • Testing and reviews
    • Summary

    Day 2: Dangerous Optimizations & Dynamic Memory

    • Compiler Optimizations
      • Constant Folding
      • Adding a Pointer and an Integer
      • Integer Overflow
      • GCC Options
      • Volatile
      • Strict Aliasing
      • Optimization Suggestions
      • Null pointer
      • Uninitialized Reads
      • C11 Analyzability Annex
      • Summary and Recommendations

    Dynamic Memory

    • Commo Dynamic Memory Management Errors
    • Doug Lea's Memory Allocator
    • Buffer Overflows
    • Double-free
    • Mitigation strategies
    • Exercise: Finding memory errors

    Who should attend
    Secure Coding in C and C++ is useful to anyone involved in the development
    or maintenance of software in C and C++. If you are a:

    • C or C++ programmer, this book will teach you how to identify common
      programming errors that result in software vulnerabilities, understand
      how these errors are exploited, and implement a solution in a secure
    • Software project manager, this book identifies the risks and
      consequences of software vulnerabilities to guide investments in
      developing secure software.
    • Computer science student, this book will teach you programming
      practices that will help you to avoid developing bad habits and enable
      you to develop secure programs during your professional career.
    • Security analyst, this book provides a detailed description of common
      vulnerabilities, identifies ways to detect these vulnerabilities, and
      offers practical avoidance strategies.

    The course assumes basic C and C++ programming skills, but does not assume
    an in-depth knowledge of software security. The ideas presented apply to
    various development environments, but the examples are specific to
    Microsoft Visual Studio and Linux/GCC and the Intel Architecture.

    Software to install
    Students are also encouraged to bring their own C and C++ programming
    language development environments (compiler, editor, etc.), such as
    Microsoft Visual Studio, Xcode, GCC, or Clang.

    Robert Seacord
    Standardization Lead

    Robert C. Seacord is the Standardization Lead at Woven Planet he works on the Software Craft. Robert was previously a Technical Director at NCC Group, Secure Coding Manager at Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute, and an adjunct professor in the School of Computer Science and the Information Networking Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

    He is the author of seven books, including Effective C: An Introduction to Professional C Programming (No Starch Press, 2020), The CERT C Coding Standard, Second Edition (Addison-Wesley, 2014) Secure Coding in C and C++, Second Edition (Addison-Wesley, 2013). Robert has been teaching secure coding in C and C++ to private industry, academia, and government since 2005.

    Robert is on the Advisory Board for the Linux Foundation is the incoming convener of the ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG14 international standardization working group for the C programming language.

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