Minimize attack surface area

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Every feature that is added to an application adds a certain amount of risk to the overall application. The aim for secure development is to reduce the overall risk by reducing the attack surface area.

For example, a web application implements online help with a search function. The search function may be vulnerable to SQL injection attacks. If the help feature was limited to authorized users, the attack likelihood is reduced. If the help feature’s search function was gated through centralized data validation routines, the ability to perform SQL injection is dramatically reduced. However, if the help feature was re-written to eliminate the search function (through better user interface, for example), this almost eliminates the attack surface area, even if the help feature was available to the Internet at large.