Microsoft has released two free tools to help software developers write secure code, as cybercriminals step up attacks on third-party applications.
The tools, announced at the Black Hat DC security conference near Washington, are the latest public releases of elements of Microsoft's Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) programme.
Microsoft introduced the SDL in 2004 to standardise secure software development practices across all product lines.
Application developers are increasingly finding their code put to the test as attackers exploit any vulnerability they can find for financial gain, said Microsoft.
The first tool is a step-by-step guide to help software development organisations of any size adopt the SDL without increasing cost or reducing time to market.
"The guide sets out how any development team, even teams of eight to ten developers, can implement the SDL," said David Ladd, principal security program manager at Microsoft.
The SDL is not proprietary to Windows and therefore the techniques can be applied to applications developed for other platforms, Microsoft said.
The second tool is a beta version of a downloadable template for Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 for applying SDL methodology to agile or iterative software development process.
The template ensures that any code checked in by developers complies with SDL practices and automatically tracks manual processes, such as threat modelling, to prevent them being overlooked.
Microsoft also announced seven new members of its SDL Pro Network, a group of security organisations that help organisations adopt the SDL.
These include for the first time three organisations that are able to deploy a range of security tools to complement existing consulting and training members, said Microsoft.