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security by design

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Security by design is an approach to software and hardware development that seeks to make systems as free of vulnerabilities and impervious to attack as possible through such measures as continuous testing, authentication safeguards and adherence to best programming practices.

An emphasis on building security into products counters the all-too-common tendency for security to be an afterthought in development. Addressing existing vulnerabilities and patching security holes as they are found can be a hit-and-miss process and will never be as effective as designing systems to be as secure as possible from the start. 

Security by design is rapidly becoming crucial in the rapidly developing Internet of Things (IoT) environment, in which almost any conceivable device, object or entity can be given a unique identifier (UID) and networked to make them addressable over the Internet. One of the major challenges of IoT security is the fact that security has not traditionally been considered in product design for networking appliances and objects that have not traditionally been networked. 

The security by design model contrasts with less rigorous approaches including security through obscurity, security through minority and security through obsolescence. 

This was last updated in July 2015

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