New joint guidance by CISA and other governmental agencies prompts software manufacturers to ship products that are secure-by-design and -default.

Today the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the cybersecurity authorities of Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, and New Zealand (CERT NZ, NCSC-NZ) published Shifting the Balance of Cybersecurity Risk: Principles and Approaches for Security-by-Design and -Default.

This joint guidance urges software manufacturers to take the necessary steps to ship products that are secure-by-design and -default. To create a future where technology and associated products are safe for customers, the authoring agencies urge manufacturers to revamp their design and development programs to permit only secure-by-design and -default products to be shipped to customers. 

This guidance, the first of its kind, is intended to catalyze progress toward further investments and cultural shifts necessary to achieve a safe and secure future. In addition to specific technical recommendations, this guidance outlines several core principles to guide software manufacturers in building software security into their design processes prior to developing, configuring and shipping their products, including:  

  • Take ownership of the security outcomes of their technology products, shifting the burden of security from the customers. A secure configuration should be the default baseline, in which products automatically enable the most important security controls needed to protect enterprises from malicious cyber actors. 
  • Embrace radical transparency and accountability—for example, by ensuring vulnerability advisories and associated common vulnerability and exposure (CVE) records are complete and accurate. 
  • Build the right organizational structure by providing executive level commitment for software manufacturers to prioritize security as a critical element of product development.