Image Blog Software Security vs Safety Question
January 21, 2020

Software Safety vs. Security: What's the Difference Between Safety and Security?

Security & Compliance
Static Analysis

Safety and security are often used interchangeably. But they mean different things. Here we compare safety vs. security and explain the difference between safety and security.

Read along or jump ahead to the section that interests you the most:

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Safety vs Security: What Is the Difference Between Safety and Security? 

Here's the biggest difference between safety and security. Safety means no harm is caused, deliberately or not. Security means that no deliberate harm is caused.

This is critical when it comes to software safety and security. This must start at the code level.

📕 Related Resource: Learn more about Security vs. Compliance: What’s The Difference?

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Differences Between Safety and Security: Safety vs Security

Here are some more differences between safety and security when it comes to your software and code.

Code Security Prevents Attacks

Code security is about preventing unwanted or illegal activity in the software we build and use. It helps ensure our systems are secure during an attack and keeps unwanted intruders out. Static application security testing (SAST) can help you improve security.

📕 Related Resource: Review the SAST tutorial for additional software security resources.

Code Safety Ensures Reliability

Code safety, on the other hand, is a broader term used to indicate whether software is reliable and safe to use. That’s why the MISRA coding standard was first developed. It provides a safe experience for drivers.

Security Helps Achieve Safety

Security is a means to achieve safety. This isn’t just semantics. It’s a crucial mission for security professionals. Especially when they need to balance integrity, availability, and reliability in order to deliver safe software. 

But, how is it possible to keep up with the hundreds of requirements in MISRA or ISO 26262? Especially when development teams lack the in-depth knowledge of complex coding standards? 

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Safety vs Security: Coding Standards Drive Software Safety 

Today, MISRA is one of the most established coding standards. It was first developed in 1998 for the automobile industry. MISRA provides a set of C/C++ guidelines used to keep vehicles safe on the road. Since then, MISRA has become the major software standard for several high-profile industries such as railway, healthcare, defense, telecom, IoT, and aerospace. 

Safety is mission-critical to these industries. For years, MISRA coding guidelines have helped developers keep high-reliability systems like these safe. The MISRA guidelines released in 2012 (MISRA C:2012 Amendment 1) add security measures. These help identify and avoid common security vulnerabilities in software systems. 

Coding standards don't provide foolproof security. But they help ensure code is portable, robust, and easy to maintain. For this reason, compliance with MISRA guidelines has become synonymous safety and reliability.

Code safety and security are crucial for industries that depend on high-reliability software found everywhere from cars to spaceships.  

Coding standards, like MISRA, help ensure code architecture is rock solid at every stage of development. Secure code ensures crucial safety of software systems that people rely on every day. 

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How to Enforce Software Safety and Security 

The best way to enforce software safety and security is to use static code analysis tools. 

MISRA recommends using static code analysis tools to ensure the highest degree of compliance with their standards. Compliance checking tools can flag everything from critical security loopholes to small deviations from best practices. Having one tool to check hundreds of different measures at once helps ensure you’re aware of each tiny misstep from the gold standard. 

At each stage of development, static testing tools allow developers to confidently incorporate critical security and safety requirements into their code.

Klocwork, for instance, is a SAST tool that provides industry-leading checkers and reports. This helps software companies achieve the safety and security they need. Plus, they don't need to train developers or create new tests from scratch. 

Software that can perform these critical checks for your team ultimately leads to easier, more secure, and safer software. Instead of line-by-line manual checking, you can rely on Klocwork to ensure your code is MISRA-compliant. It’s a safer way to secure your software. 

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Ensure Safety and Security With Klocwork

You need to protect your code, products, and brands from security vulnerabilities. With Klocwork SAST, you can automate the detection of 100s of security vulnerabilities in source code.

Klocwork is one of the most accurate code analyzers for C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Python, and Kotlin programming languages. It’s a modern, Agile static code analyzer that scales to projects of any size and works effectively within the DevOps cycle. What’s more, it’s certified for functional safety compliance by TÜV-SÜD, including:

  • IEC 61508.
  • ISO 26262.
  • EN 50128.  

It's time to apply a consistent, efficient approach to identifying and remediating real security vulnerabilities. See for yourself how Klocwork can help, register for a free trial.

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