[WEB SECURITY] code review techniques for when you don't trust your developers or testers

travis at subspacefield.org travis at subspacefield.org
Thu Aug 13 18:59:29 EDT 2009


On Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 06:14:45PM -0400, Steven M. Christey wrote:
> If you could do
> that type of analysis, then you would also probably have the ability to
> detect and produce a bug-free system.  The theorists throw around the
> "undecidable" term a lot when it comes to proving that code doesn't have
> any bugs, and the evil-developer problem may be an alternate expression of
> that.

While automated "understanding" of what an arbitrary program does is
essentially the halting problem, it is not the case that a given
program is impossible to analyze.  They just have to be written to be
amenable to analysis (much easier said than done).

By analogy, peer code review may also be a useful tool here; if the
program can't be understood by a different and suitably competent
programmer, then one could argue that it should be rewritten with a
cleaner design, as it is also probably too complex to maintain.
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