What are Security Issues in the C Language?

The C programming language is one of the oldest programming languages in the world, but it still has millions of faithful users. Even when a lot of newer and more advanced programming languages appeared, the C programming language still remained widely-used. However, in recent years, many cybersecurity experts became worried about different security issues that come with using the C language.

Cyberattacks have become more and more frequent, the most notable being the ZeroDay exploit, WannaCry, and Heartbleed. All those attacks had terrible consequences and were seemingly unrelated. However, there’s one thing that connects all three – the C programming language. All those attacks exploited the memory unsafety vulnerabilities of C and C++.

What Are Memory Unsafety Vulnerabilities?

Memory unsafety is a flaw in programming languages that allows the creation of various bugs and other security issues. Programming languages that are the most susceptible to this issue are C and C++. Programs that are considered to be memory unsafe allow the use of buffer overflow, uninitialized memory, double free, and many other problematic features.

The only way to avoid these vulnerabilities is to perfectly and seamlessly write, read, and allocate memory, which can be a hard and tedious task. Or, an even safer solution would be to start using another programming language that is not susceptible to these flaws. To make matters worse, many popular applications are memory unsafe, including Chrome, iOS, Android, Windows, etc. 

Why Are Developers Still Using C?

Since the C programming language is so vulnerable, many are left wondering why developers are still using it. Even though there are many newer and safer languages available nowadays, it’s not so easy to migrate from one language to another. C language was used for writing important software that is used on a daily basis. Such software is comprised of millions of lines of code, so it would be a huge hassle to try and rewrite it in another language. Besides being tedious, it also requires a lot of time and money.

Another reason is the fact that many developers think that the issue stems from the lack of responsibility of other coders. In theory, if a code is written flawlessly, there wouldn’t be any room left for exploitation. They think that the C programming language can be as safe as all other languages, as long as it’s used and written diligently and responsibly.

How to Increase Your Device’s Security?

Applications that were written in the C programming language are still prevalent, which means that many users are susceptible to exploitation. Even though app developers are mostly in charge of keeping their applications safe, there are still certain precautionary measures users can take to ensure maximum security. Make sure to implement all the security measures listed below:

1. Use Antivirus

Antivirus software is one of the most important tools that every computer should have. It is designed to detect, prevent, and isolate threats in real-time, making it very valuable for keeping one’s devices safe. The internet is full of viruses, worms, trojans, and other forms of malware that are patiently waiting to infect one’s computer. Just one wrong click or download is enough to become affected. Antivirus will instantly detect and remove the threat, allowing the users to browse the internet safely. Also, many antivirus solutions come with additional features such as driver updates, performance enhancers, password managers, and anti-trackers.

2. Regularly Install Updates

Installing updates is something that most users hate doing. It often slows down the computer and requires restarts, which many find annoying. However, installing updates regularly is crucial for keeping one’s devices safe. Service providers often test their codes for vulnerabilities and issue updates and patches to fix them. Since hackers are becoming more creative, companies must keep up with their innovations and issue fixes accordingly. Only one missed update is enough to fall victim to cybercrime.

3. Use VPN

This is an important tool for safe internet browsing. VPN stands for “virtual private network,” and it acts as a mediator between the user and the internet. It funnels the internet connection through its own servers, forbidding the malware from accessing the user’s device. VPNs have become a staple in every responsible user’s tool because it allows them to remain anonymous on the internet. Individuals can opt for a free version, or buy VPN services instead.

With so many threats lurking around the corner, users must realize that they shouldn’t put all their trust in software developers and service providers. Since most of us are using at least one application that was written in the C programming language, that means that nearly everyone is susceptible to exploitation. This is exactly why everyone should invest a bit more time into incorporating additional security measures to keep their devices safe and secure.