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Secure Coding Masterclass for Financial Services

If there is a domain where security is critical, it is definitely fintech. Vulnerability is not an option if you want to stay a trusted and reliable vendor with systems and applications that certainly comply with PCI-DSS requirements. You need devoted secure coders with high-level professional attitude and developers eager to fight all coding problems: yes, you need a skilled team of software engineers.

We offer a training program exclusively targeting engineers developing applications for the banking and finance sector. Our trainers share their experience and expertise through hands-on labs, and give real-life case studies from the banking industry – engaging participants in live hacking fun to reveal all consequences of insecure coding.

Topics Include:

  •   IT security and secure coding
  •   Special threats in the banking and finance sector
  •   Regulations and standards
  •   Web application security (OWASP Top Ten 2017)
  •   Client-side security
  •   Security architecture
  •   Requirements of secure communication
  •   Practical cryptography
  •   Security protocols
  •   Crypto libraries and APIs
  •   Input validation
  •   Security of Web services
  •   Improper use of security features
  •   Object-relational mapping (ORM) security
  •   Improper error and exception handling
  •   Time and state problems
  •   Code quality problems
  •   Denial of service
  •   Security testing techniques
  •   Principles of security and secure coding
  •   Knowledge sources

Learning Objectives

Delegates will learn how to                    

  •   Understand basic concepts of security, IT security and secure coding
  •   Understand special threats in the banking and finance sector
  •   Understand regulations and standards
  •   Learn Web vulnerabilities beyond OWASP Top Ten and know how to avoid them
  • Learn about XML security
  •   Learn how to set up and operate the deployment environment securely
  •   Learn client-side vulnerabilities and secure coding practices
  •   Have a practical understanding of cryptography
  •   Understand the requirements of secure communication
  •   Understand essential security protocols
  •   Understand some recent attacks against cryptosystems
  •   Understand security concepts of Web services
  •   Learn about JSON security
  •   Learn about typical coding mistakes and how to avoid them
  •   Get information about some recent vulnerabilities in the Java framework
  •   Learn about denial of service attacks and protections
  •   Get practical knowledge in using security testing techniques and tools
  •   Get sources and further readings on secure coding practices

Note: This course comes with a number of easy-to-understand exercises providing real-time ethical hacking fun. By accomplishing these exercises with the support of the trainer, participants can analyze vulnerable code snippets and commit attacks against them in order to fully understand the root causes of certain security problems. All exercises are prepared in a plug-and-play manner by using a pre-set desktop virtual machine, which provides a uniform development environment.


Advanced desktop and Web application development skills are required.

Course Content

Day 1

IT security and secure coding

  •   Nature of security
  •   What is risk?
  •   IT security vs. secure coding
  •   From vulnerabilities to botnets and cybercrime
  •   Nature of security flaws
  •   Reasons of difficulty
  •   From an infected computer to targeted attacks
  •   Classification of security flaws
  •   Landwehr’s taxonomy
  •   The Seven Pernicious Kingdoms
  •   OWASP Top Ten 2017
  •   CWE most dangerous software errors
  •   SEI CERT secure coding standards

Special threats in the banking and finance sector

  •   Banking and finance threats – trends
  •   Banking and finance threats – some numbers
  •   Attacker profiles
  •   Most significant targets
  •   Industry and regulatory response to threats
  •   Attacker tools and vectors

Regulations and standards

  •   The fintech cybersecurity regulatory / compliance landscape
  •   Important organizations and regulations from an IT standpoint
  •   Managing sensitive data
  •   Breach disclosure obligations
  •   PCI DSS compliance
  •   PCI DSS at a glance
  •   The main assets protected by PCI-DSS
  •   Requirement 6 – Develop and maintain secure systems and applications  
    •     6.1 – Identifying vulnerabilities, risk management
    •     6.2 – Patching
    •     6.3 – Secure software development
    •     6.4 – Policies and procedures
    •     6.5 – Train developers in secure coding best practices
    •     6.6 – Security assessment and attack detection
    •     6.7 – Documentation and enforcement

Web application security (OWASP Top Ten 2017)

  •   A1 - Injection  
    •     Injection principles
    •     SQL injection
    •     Exercise – SQL Injection
    •     Exercise – SQL injection
    •     Typical SQL Injection attack methods
    •     Blind and time-based SQL injection
    •     SQL injection protection methods
    •     Other injection flaws
    •     Command injection
    • Case study – ImageMagick
  •   A2 - Broken authentication  
    •     Session handling threats
    •     Session handling best practices
    •     Setting cookie attributes – best practices
    • Case study – Authentication issues in Danish online banking
    •     Danske Bank website debug mode information leak
    •     Danske Bank session leakage and potential hijack vulnerability
    •     Issues with the NemID centralized single sign-on scheme
  •   A3 - Sensitive data exposure  
    •     Sensitive data exposure
    • Case study – Distributed guessing attack against payment cards
    •     Information leakage weaknesses in online payment systems
    •     Practical guessing attack
    •     Real-world exploitation and countermeasures
    •     Transport layer security
    •     Enforcing HTTPS

Day 2

Web application security (OWASP Top Ten 2017)

  •   A4 - XML external entity (XXE)  
    •     XML Entity introduction
    •     XML bomb
    •     Exercise – XML bomb
    •     XML external entity attack (XXE) – resource inclusion
    •     XML external entity attack – URL invocation
    •     XML external entity attack – parameter entities
    •     Exercise – XXE attack
    • Case study – XXE in Google Toolbar
    • Case study – XXE in TGI Friday's ordering system
    •     Identifying the vulnerability: JSON input processed as XML
  •   A5 - Broken access control  
    •     Typical access control weaknesses
    •     Insecure direct object reference (IDOR)
    •     Exercise – Insecure direct object reference
    •     Protection against IDOR
    • Case study – Facebook Notes
    •     Exercise – Authorization bypass
  •   A6 - Security misconfiguration  
    •     Configuration management
    •     Hardening
    •     Patch management
    •     Configuring the environment
    •     Insecure file uploads
    •     Exercise – Uploading executable files
    •     Filtering file uploads – validation and configuration
  •   A7 - Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)  
    •     Persistent XSS
    •     Reflected XSS
    •     DOM-based XSS
    •     Exercise – Cross Site Scripting
    •     Exploitation: CSS injection
    •     Exploitation: injecting the <base> tag
    •     Exercise – HTML injection with base tag
    •     XSS prevention
  •   A8 - Insecure deserialization  
    •     Deserialization basics
    •     Security challenges of deserialization
    •     From deserialization to code execution
    •     Issues with deserialization – JSON
  •   A9 - Using components with known vulnerabilities  
    •     Vulnerability attributes
    •     Common Vulnerability Scoring System – CVSS
  •   A10 - Insufficient logging and monitoring  
    •     Detection and response
    •     Logging and log analysis
    •     Intrusion detection systems and Web application firewalls

Client-side security

  •   JavaScript security  
    •     Same Origin Policy
    •     Cross Origin Resource Sharing (CORS)
    •     Exercise – Client-side authentication
    •     Client-side authentication and password management
    •     Protecting JavaScript code
    •     Exercise – JavaScript obfuscation
  •   Clickjacking  
    •     Exercise – Do you Like me?
    •     Protection against Clickjacking
    •     Anti frame-busting – dismissing protection scripts
    •     Protection against busting frame busting
  •   AJAX security  
    •     XSS in AJAX
    •     Script injection attack in AJAX
    •     Exercise – XSS in AJAX
    •     XSS protection in Ajax
    •     Exercise CSRF in AJAX – JavaScript hijacking
    •     CSRF protection in AJAX
  •   HTML5 security  
    •     New XSS possibilities in HTML5
    •     HTML5 clickjacking attack – text field injection
    •     HTML5 clickjacking – content extraction
    •     Form tampering
    •     Exercise – Form tampering
    •     Cross-origin requests
    •     HTML proxy with cross-origin request
    •     Exercise – Client side include

Security architecture

  •   (platform and technology dependent topics)
  •   Application level access control
  •   (permissions, sandboxing)
  •   User level access control
  •   Authentication
  •   Authorization

Day 3

Requirements of secure communication

  •   Security levels
  •   Secure acknowledgment
  •   Malicious message absorption
  •   Feasibility of secure acknowledgment
  •   The solution: Clearing Centers
  •   Inadvertent message loss
  •   Integrity
  •   Error detection - Inadvertent message distortion (noise)
  •   Modeling message distortion
  •   Error detection and correction codes
  •   Authenticity - Malicious message manipulation
  •   Modeling message manipulation
  •   Practical integrity protection (detection)
  •   Non-repudiation
  •   Summary
  •   Detecting integrity violation
  •   Confidentiality
  •   Model of encrypted communication
  •   Encryption methods in practice
  •   Strength of encryption algorithms
  •   Remote identification
  •   Requirements of remote identification
  •   Anonymity and traffic analysis
  •   Model of anonymous communication
  •   Traffic analysis
  •   Theoretically strong protection against traffic analysis
  •   Practical protection against traffic analysis
  •   Summary
  •   Relationship between the requirements

Practical cryptography

  •   Cryptosystems
  •   Elements of a cryptosystem
  •   Symmetric-key cryptography
  •   Providing confidentiality with symmetric cryptography
  •   Symmetric encryption algorithms
  •   Block ciphers – modes of operation
  •   Other cryptographic algorithms
  •   Hash or message digest
  •   Hash algorithms
  •   SHAttered
  •   Message Authentication Code (MAC)
  •   Providing integrity and authenticity with a symmetric key
  •   Random numbers and cryptography
  •   Cryptographically-strong PRNGs
  •   Hardware-based TRNGs
  •   Asymmetric (public-key) cryptography
  •   Providing confidentiality with public-key encryption
  •   Rule of thumb – possession of private key
  •   The RSA algorithm  
    •     Introduction to RSA algorithm
    •     Encrypting with RSA
    •     Combining symmetric and asymmetric algorithms
    •     Digital signing with RSA
  •   Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
  •   Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack
  •   Digital certificates against MitM attack
  •   Certificate Authorities in Public Key Infrastructure
  •   X.509 digital certificate
  •   Security protocols
  •   Secure network protocols
  •   Specific vs. general solutions
  •   SSL/TLS protocols
  •   Security services
  •   SSL/TLS handshake
  •   Protocol-level vulnerabilities
  •   BEAST
  •   FREAK
  •   FREAK – attack against SSL/TLS
  •   Logjam attack
  •   Padding oracle attacks
  •   Adaptive chosen-ciphertext attacks
  •   Padding oracle attack
  •   CBC decryption
  •   Padding oracle example
  •   Lucky Thirteen
  •   POODLE

Crypto libraries and APIs

  •   (platform and technology dependent topics)

Day 4

Input validation

  •   Input validation concepts
  •   Integer problems
  •   Representation of negative integers
  •   Integer overflow
  •   Integer problem – best practices
  • Case study – Integer overflow in the Stockholm Stock Exchange
  •   Integer wraparound problem when purchasing stocks
  •   Path traversal vulnerability
  •   Path traversal mitigation
  • Case study – Insufficient URL validation in LastPass
  •   Unvalidated redirects and forwards
  •   Log forging
  •   Some other typical problems with log files
  •   (some additional platform and technology dependent topics)

Security of Web services

  •   SOAP security
  •   SOAP - Simple Object Access Protocol
  •   Transport layer security
  •   Message level security
  •   Security of RESTful web services
  •   Authentication with REST
  •   Authorization with REST
  •   Vulnerabilities in connection with REST
  •   XML security  
    •     Introduction
    •     XML parsing
    •     XML injection
    •     (Ab)using CDATA to store XSS payload in XML
    •     Exercise – XML injection
  •   JSON security  
    •     Introduction
    •     JSON parsing
    •     Embedding JSON server-side
    •     JSON injection
    •     JSON hijacking
    • Case study – XSS via spoofed JSON element

Improper use of security features

  •   Typical problems related to the use of security features
  •   Insecure randomness
  • Case study – Tesco Bank fraud
  •   Fraud exploiting deterministic card number generation
  •   Password management
  •   Exercise – Weakness of hashed passwords
  •   Password management and storage
  •   Special purpose hash algorithms for password storage
  • Case study – the Ashley Madison data breach
  •   The loginkey token
  •   Revealing the passwords with brute forcing
  • Case study – Equifax account freeze PIN code generation
  •   Typical mistakes in password management
  • Case study – Equifax password management issues
  •   Some additional platform and technology dependent topics

Object-relational mapping (ORM) security

  •   (platform and technology dependent topics)

Day 5

Improper error and exception handling

  •   Typical problems with error and exception handling
  •   Exercise – Information leakage through error reporting

Time and state problems

  •   (platform and technology dependent topics)

Code quality problems

  •   (platform and technology dependent topics)

Denial of service

  •   DoS introduction
  •   Asymmetric DoS
  •   SSL/TLS renegotiation DoS
  • Case Study – ReDos in Stack Exchange
  •   Hashtable collision attack
  •   Using hashtables to store inputs
  •   Hashtable collision

Security testing techniques

  •   General testing approaches
  •   Source code review
  •   Code review for software security
  •   Taint analysis
  •   Heuristic-based
  •   Static code analysis
  •   Testing the implementation
  •   Dynamic security testing
  •   Manual vs. automated security testing
  •   Penetration testing
  •   Stress tests
  •   Fuzzing
  •   Automated security testing - fuzzing
  •   Challenges of fuzzing
  •   Proxy servers and sniffers
  •   Testing with proxies and sniffers
  •   Packet analyzers and proxies
  •   Exercise – Testing with proxy
  •   Web vulnerability scanners
  •   Exercise – Using a vulnerability scanner
  •   SQL injection tools
  •   Exercise – Using SQL injection tools

Principles of security and secure coding

  •   Matt Bishop’s principles of robust programming
  •   The security principles of Saltzer and Schroeder
  •   SEI Cert top 10 secure coding practices

Knowledge sources

  •   Secure coding sources – a starter kit
  •   Vulnerability databases

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