Your company sells toys online worldwide. A web-based E-Commerce system developed in-house supports the business. The EC system comprises a web server farm to present the web user interface and application programming interface. Which of the following is the best role to address the attacks of Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and Cross-site request forgery (XSRF)?
A. The front-end developer who validates UI inputs
B. The back-end developer who filters out invalid characters
C. The database administrator who implements the parameterized query
D. The solution architect who designs the system architecture
Kindly be reminded that the suggested answer is for your reference only. It doesn’t matter whether you have the right or wrong answer. What really matters is your reasoning process and justifications.
My suggested answer is D. The solution architect who designs the system architecture.
The solution architect takes protection needs and security requirements into considerations to design an architecture that meets them. The architect may specify an application framework that inherently addresses common security concerns and direct the detail design. An architect has the most comprehensive view of addressing stakeholders’ needs and requirements to propose robust and secure architecture.
The architecture directs the detailed design, which then drives the implementation or development work. We can choose to patch the XSS and XSRF by front-end or back-end developers respectively, and that won’t involve the architect. However, too many patches may hinder the architecture. IMO, it’s appropriate to escalate the problem and call for a meeting for an overall review of the architecture.
Many security issues can be addressed by employing an application framework (an architectural decision), e.g., ASP.NET MVC and Entity Framework have built-in constructs to prevent XSRF and SQL injection. Junior developers don’t have to understand the security details.
Security is an aspect of cross-cutting concerns; AOP (aspect-oriented programming) offloads the security burden of developers. A good architecture may support AOP.
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