Image Blog QAC Secure Coding Standards
October 22, 2020

What Are Security Standards? Secure Coding Standards Overview

Security & Compliance
Static Analysis

Up to 90% of software security problems are caused by coding errors, which is why secure coding standards are essential. There are several secure coding practices you can adopt. But, to write truly secure code, you need to use a secure coding standard.

Here, we explain what are secure coding standards and how to enforce these security standards.

Your Guide to Secure Coding Standards

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

Why Is Secure Coding Important?

Secure coding standards are important because they help to ensure that software is safeguarded against software security vulnerabilities. What's more, secure coding is important for every development team — regardless of whether it's code for mobile devices, personal computers, servers, or embedded devices.

Developing Embedded Systems? How to Improve Security >>


What Is Security Software?

Security software is software that secures and safeguards a computer, network, or any computer-enabled device.

This type of software helps to ensure the security of software by:

  • Managing access control
  • Providing data protection
  • Safeguarding against viruses and other cybersecurity vulnerabilities

An essential part of security software is secure coding and using the right software security tool, like SAST.

What Are Secure Coding Standards?

Secure coding standards are rules and guidelines used to prevent security vulnerabilities. Used effectively, these security standards prevent, detect, and eliminate errors that could compromise software security.

Here, we cover the key secure coding standards.

CWE and CWE Top 25

CWE is a list of software security weaknesses in software and hardware, which includes programming languages C, C++, and Java. The list is compiled by feedback from the CWE Community. In addition, the CWE Top 25 is a compilation of the most widespread and critical weaknesses that could lead to severe software vulnerabilities.

More on CWE and CWE Top 25



CERT is a secure coding standard that supports commonly used programming languages such as C, C++, and Java. In addition, for each guideline included in the secure coding standard, there is a risk assessment to help determine the possible consequences of violating that specific rule or recommendation.

More on CERT



CVE is a list of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and exposures found in a specific software product. The list is linked to information from several different vulnerability databases, which allows users to more easily compare security tools and services.

More on CVE



NVD is the U.S. government repository of standards-based vulnerability management data and it is connected with the CVE list and provides additional content, including how to fix vulnerabilities, severity scores, and impact ratings. In order to calculate severity scores, CVSS must be used.

CVSS is an open industry standard for assessing the severity of software vulnerabilities. For each vulnerability, a severity score is assigned.

More on NVD and CVSS



DISA is a combat support agency that provides IT and communication support to all institutes and individuals working for the DoD. It oversees the IT and technological aspects of organizing, delivering, and managing defense-related information. This includes STIG guidelines, which provides guidance on how an organization should handle and manage security software and systems.



OWASP and OWASP Top 10

OWASP is an international nonprofit organization that educates software development teams on how to conceive, develop, acquire, operate, and maintain secure applications. In addition, the OWASP Top 10 is an annual report of the 10 most critical web application and API security risks.

More on OWASP and OWASP Top 10



PA-DSS is a global security standard that applies to the development of payment application software.

More on PA-DSS


IEC 62443

IEC 62443 is a set of security standards used to defend industrial networks against cybersecurity threats. The set of security standards provides a thorough and systematic set of cybersecurity recommendations.

The standard uses security levels (SL) to accurately measure risk.

More on IEC 62443


How to Apply Secure Coding Standards?

The best way to ensure secure coding is to use a static code analyzer.

Static code analyzers enforce coding rules, security standards, and flag security violations. Both Helix QAC and Klocwork come with code security modules to ensure secure software.

Each one includes:

  • Fully documented rule enforcement and message interpretation.
  • Extensive example code.
  • Fully configurable rules processing.
  • Compliance reports for security audits.

How Perforce SAST Tools Help Enforce Secure Coding Standards

Klocwork is the most trusted SAST tool for C, C++, C#, and Java and it helps you to ensure secure code. See the difference that Klocwork can make.

▶️ Watch the Klocwork Demo