Simple and secure isn't so simple

Friday, 3 September 2004, 1:25 PM EST

I originally wanted to write a column about how the KISS principle should really be Keep It Simple and Secure and why I thought BSD and Linux had it right. The general consensus in the security world is that, all else being equal, simpler software equates to secure software. I have come to the conclusion that that this is a rather trivial *cough* oversimplification of the problem.

I have no argument with the notion that large and opaque software is likely to be more buggy, and where bugs exist, security holes can usually be found. But what exactly is this notion of simplicity, how do we define it, or perhaps, and who defines it? Simple code is often not simple for the user, and an opaque user interaction experience can create security problems, even though these security problems can't be measured in a vulnerability/lines of code metric.

By Daniel Hanson at SecurityFocus.

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