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How Secure Is Java Programming Language?

August 12, 2014 Written by Eugene Chudzilouski, Marketing Executive
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a business of certain size must be in want of an enterprise application written in Java. The known Java security is one of the reasons for it. Java is a really safe language. It guarantees immunity from malware or viruses. When hosted at the local machine, private data is always protected. When transmitted, it is always encrypted. The programming language is secured against internal code flaws as well. There is a range of safety features in place. The Java Virtual Machine ensures verification of the bytecode before execution. So, there are no incorrect locations and unchecked type casts. Issues related to memory safety, such as buffer overflow, are treated. There is no manual memory management – it is done automatically, the same is with garbage collection. Casts verification as well as references null-checking contributes to the correct behavior of a Java application. Java Security Manager sandboxes arbitrary code and prevents it from accessing local file systems, communication networks etc. Untrusted code cannot provide any arbitrary command, affecting other processes or current user’s privileges at the machine. The feature also supports cryptographic signature, symmetric and asymmetric encryption. Users can choose what trusted entities can be allowed and define exceptions if any. The external code is always verified for the source, digital signature and the principal which runs it. A number of security APIs support authentication, secure communication and other cryptographic protocols which contribute to the overall security of the developed app. Some features are secured on the library level, such as String.
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Any vulnerability discovered by Java developers, is addressed to almost immediately. The open source Java community pays significant effort to both finding potential vulnerabilities and improving the language itself. Enterprise application development with Java is one of the widely accepted best practices. Most enterprise applications have complex architecture, connections to other corporate resources and, thus, increased security risks. Java programming can handle these issues. Some potential vulnerabilities are exposed, while other risks are mitigated. Nevertheless, many issues are the result of the human factor. That’s why highly-qualified developers with a huge expertise are a must when one decides to have an application developed in Java. However, being safe doesn’t mean being the safest. Recently WhiteHat Security has published its 2014 report on security risks in application development. The conclusion might seem surprising: there is no great statistical difference between analyzed programming languages. Customers turn to a particular technology having something else in mind: desired functionalities, application domain or, simply, the development team qualification. So, the choice between Java or .NET or any other technology is up to the customer. In the first instance, the chosen language should provide the necessary app functionalities and acceptable performance within the domain standards.

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