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Jumping through hoops: why do Java developers struggle with cryptography APIs?

Nadi, Sarah and Krüger, Stefan and Mezini, Mira and Bodden, Eric :
Jumping through hoops: why do Java developers struggle with cryptography APIs?
ICSE '16 Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering ACM
[Conference or Workshop Item] , (2016)

Abstract

To protect sensitive data processed by current applications, developers, whether security experts or not, have to rely on cryptography. While cryptography algorithms have become increasingly advanced, many data breaches occur because developers do not correctly use the corresponding APIs. To guide future research into practical solutions to this problem, we perform an empirical investigation into the obstacles developers face while using the Java cryptography APIs, the tasks they use the APIs for, and the kind of (tool) support they desire. We triangulate data from four separate studies that include the analysis of 100 StackOverflow posts, 100 GitHub repositories, and survey input from 48 developers. We find that while developers find it difficult to use certain cryptographic algorithms correctly, they feel surprisingly confident in selecting the right cryptography concepts (e.g., encryption vs. signatures). We also find that the APIs are generally perceived to be too low-level and that developers prefer more task-based solutions.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Erschienen: 2016
Creators: Nadi, Sarah and Krüger, Stefan and Mezini, Mira and Bodden, Eric
Title: Jumping through hoops: why do Java developers struggle with cryptography APIs?
Language: German
Abstract:

To protect sensitive data processed by current applications, developers, whether security experts or not, have to rely on cryptography. While cryptography algorithms have become increasingly advanced, many data breaches occur because developers do not correctly use the corresponding APIs. To guide future research into practical solutions to this problem, we perform an empirical investigation into the obstacles developers face while using the Java cryptography APIs, the tasks they use the APIs for, and the kind of (tool) support they desire. We triangulate data from four separate studies that include the analysis of 100 StackOverflow posts, 100 GitHub repositories, and survey input from 48 developers. We find that while developers find it difficult to use certain cryptographic algorithms correctly, they feel surprisingly confident in selecting the right cryptography concepts (e.g., encryption vs. signatures). We also find that the APIs are generally perceived to be too low-level and that developers prefer more task-based solutions.

Title of Book: ICSE '16 Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering
Number: 38
Publisher: ACM
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cryptography, API misuse, empirical software engineering
Divisions: Profile Areas
Profile Areas > Cybersecurity (CYSEC)
Event Location: Austin, Texas
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2017 11:36
DOI: 10.1145/2884781.2884790
Identification Number: TUD-CS-2016-14768
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