Challenging software developers: dialectic as a foundation for security assurance techniques

Charles Weir, Awais Rashid, James Noble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Development teams are increasingly expected to deliver secure code, but how can they best achieve this? Traditional security practice, which emphasizes ‘telling developers what to do’ using checklists, processes and errors to avoid, has proved difficult to introduce. From analysis of industry interviews with a dozen experts in app development security, we find that secure development requires ‘dialectic’: a challenging dialog between the developers and a range of counterparties, continued throughout the development cycle. Analysing a further survey of 16 industry developer security advocates, we identify the six assurance techniques that are most effective at achieving this dialectic in existing development teams, and conclude that the intro- duction of these techniques is best driven by the developers themselves. Concentrating on these six assurance techniques, and the dialectical interactions they involve, has the potential to increase the security of development activities and thus improve software security for everyone.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cybersecurity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Structured keywords

  • Cyber Security


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