Secure coding in C and C++ for medical devices (SECC-CCPPMD)


Course Overview

Your application written in C and C++ works as intended, so you are done, right? But did you consider feeding in incorrect values? 16Gbs of data? A null? An apostrophe? Negative numbers, or specifically -1 or -2^31? Because that’s what the bad guys will do – and the list is far from complete.

The most important concern in the healthcare industry is naturally safety. However, once isolated medical devices became highly connected to date, which poses new kinds of security risks: from exposing sensitive patient information to denial of service. And remember, there is no safety without security!

Handling security needs a healthy level of paranoia, and this is what this course provides: a strong emotional engagement by lots of hands-on labs and stories from real life, all to substantially improve code hygiene. Mistakes, consequences, and best practices are our blood, sweat and tears.

All this is put in the context of medical devices developed in C and C++, and extended by core programming issues, discussing security pitfalls of these languages.

So that you are prepared for the forces of the dark side.

So that nothing unexpected happens.


Who should attend

C/C++ developers developing medical devices


General C/C++ development

Course Objectives

  • Getting familiar with essential cyber security concepts
  • Learning about security specialties of the healthcare sector
  • Identify vulnerabilities and their consequences
  • Learn the security best practices in C and C++
  • Input validation approaches and principles

Outline: Secure coding in C and C++ for medical devices (SECC-CCPPMD)

Day 1

  • Cyber security basics
    • What is security?
    • Threat and risk
    • Cyber security threat types – the CIA triad
    • Cyber security threat types – the STRIDE model
    • Consequences of insecure software
  • Regulations and standards
    • Healthcare data protection regulations
    • Regulations for medical devices
  • Cyber security in the healthcare sector
    • Threats to medical devices
    • Attackers and motivation
    • The problem of legacy systems

Memory management vulnerabilities

  • Assembly basics and calling conventions
    • x64 assembly essentials
    • Registers and addressing
    • Most common instructions
    • Calling conventions on x64
  • Buffer overflow
    • Memory management and security
    • Vulnerabilities in the real world
    • Buffer security issues
    • Buffer overflow on the stack

Day 2

Memory management vulnerabilities

  • Best practices and some typical mistakes
    • Unsafe functions
    • Dealing with unsafe functions
    • Lab – Fixing buffer overflow
    • What's the problem with asctime()?
    • Lab – The problem with asctime()
    • Using std::string in C++
  • Some typical mistakes leading to BOF
    • Unterminated strings
    • readlink() and string termination
    • Manipulating C-style strings in C++
    • Malicious string termination
    • Lab – String termination confusion
    • String length calculation mistakes
    • Off-by-one errors
    • Case study – Off-by-one error in VxWorks TCP 'Urgent Data' parsing
    • Allocating nothing

Memory management hardening

  • Securing the toolchain
    • Securing the toolchain in C and C++
    • Compiler warnings and security
    • Lab – Effects of FORTIFY
    • AddressSanitizer (ASan)
    • RELRO protection against GOT hijacking
    • Heap overflow protection
    • Stack smashing protection
  • Runtime protections
    • Runtime instrumentation
    • Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR)
    • Non-executable memory areas

Common software security weaknesses

  • Security features
    • Authentication
    • Authorization

Day 3

Common software security weaknesses

  • Security features (continued)
    • Password management

Common software security weaknesses

  • Input validation
    • Input validation principles
    • Denylists and allowlists
    • Case study – Improper input validation in Natus Xltek NeuroWorks 8
    • What to validate – the attack surface
    • Where to validate – defense in depth
    • When to validate – validation vs transformations
    • Output sanitization
    • Encoding challenges
    • Unicode challenges
    • Validation with regex
    • Regular expression denial of service (ReDoS)
    • Lab – ReDoS in C
    • Dealing with ReDoS
    • Integer handling problems

Day 4

Common software security weaknesses

  • Input validation
    • Injection
    • Process control
    • Files and streams
    • Format string issues

Time and state

  • Race conditions


  • Error and exception handling principles
  • Error handling
  • Exception handling

Code quality

  • Code quality and security
  • Data handling
  • Object oriented programming pitfalls

Wrap up

  • Secure coding principles
  • And now what?

Prices & Delivery methods

Online Training

4 days

  • US$ 3,000
Classroom Training

4 days

  • United States: US$ 3,000

Click on town name or "Online Training" to book Schedule

This is an Instructor-Led Classroom course
Instructor-led Online Training:   This is an Instructor-Led Online (ILO) course. These sessions are conducted via WebEx in a VoIP environment and require an Internet Connection and headset with microphone connected to your computer or laptop.
This is a FLEX course, which is delivered simultaneously in two modalities. Choose to attend the Instructor-Led Online (ILO) virtual session or Instructor-Led Classroom (ILT) session.


Munich This is a FLEX course. Enroll
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Online Training Time zone: Europe/Berlin Enroll