At the outset, it must be said that if you are searching for the most secure and yet versatile web programming language, then, weare afraid, there is none. All the languages have some pros and cons that cannot guarantee you a complete security.
Recently, a research by WhiteHat security conducted on vulnerabilities of various web programming languages came up with an intriguing finding. It actually shows that all the web programing languages are vulnerable to different kinds of security breach. It is only the facet of vulnerability that varies among different languages.
So your quest should now narrow down to specific vulnerabilities for each language rather than searching for the best as it won’t lead you anywhere. The million dollar question here is how?
Let’s learn how to rank programming languages in terms of their vulnerability
PHP is vulnerable to a comprehensive list of bugs
PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, is a server side programming language, among the several other web scripting languages, found in almost all the applications. Having its parent in the C and C++ languages, PHP language is very easy and interesting to many naïve users. It can run on both UNIX and windows. It is known as a very cheap reliable and fast.
The once written PHP code has at least one instance of cross-site scripting vulnerability. SQL injection is found in 56% of apps. In fact, SQL: Injection is one of the most easy-to-exploit vulnerability of a web application.
The problem of directory traversal is found in 67% of apps written in PHP and the problem of code infection is found in 61% of apps written in PHP. Credentials management problem can be very damaging for the reputation of a website, and yet it is found in almost 58% of apps written in PHP. Cryptographic issues are found in 73% of apps developed in PHP and 58% of sites accounted for information leakage.
Classic ASP is not far behind
Classic ASP (Active Server Pages) is a powerful tool used to develop websites since it can be easily modified and requires simple text editor. The language encompasses important functionalities which lacks in PHP.
Though the technology offers simple development, it consists of a few downsides due to its each file containing its own inline code. Classic ASP is also found to be vulnerable to a comprehensive list of bugs such as SQL injection, cross site scripting, information leakage, directory removal, insufficient input validation etc.
ColdFusion is giving jitters to developers
Though the name isn’t the most popular, ColdFusion offers an innovative platform that inculcates powerful tools to develop your web architecture. But many web developers avoid using it due to its complicated architecture which cannot be understood by the web owners.
Cross site scripting, information leakage, SQL injection, directory traversal etc. are some of the biggest issues with ColdFusion. However, Adobe Systems has recently addressed the problem of information leakage through updates for ColdFusion 10 and ColdFusion 11.
.NET is insufficient
Before the invent of programming platforms, the developers has to handle a lot of tasks like memory allocation, garbage collection etc. .Net took away this pain by offering the developers a platform for memory management.
Information leakage, code quality and cryptographic issues, directory traversal, cross site scripting, insufficient input validation are some of the critical issues with .NET. Many a times the language platform turns out a bit expensive.
Java is not all hunky dory
One of the widely used 21st century language, Java is a general purpose, object oriented programming language. People many a times are always confused about the best language to work on. If you would understand the popularity of this language and the features it offers, you would certainly prefer this one. The Java code is extremely flexible and can be reused as required. Hence it is one of the favorites of developers. And above all, it’s an open source and free software.
Code quality, code injection, cryptographic issues, and information leakage, cross site scripting, directory traversal are some of the biggest issues with Java web programing language. Java’s memory management is seen as an expensive affair. Also, lack of templates in java sometimes makes it cumbersome to work with.
What you need to note here is that, every language has its own pros and cons. selecting the right technology depends on the nature and size of the project. One thing is for sure and that is – vulnerabilities like SQL injection and cross site scripting are more prevalent in scripting based applications such as PHP, ColdFusion and ASP. However, most of these languages have had security APIs that have covered at least some of the lapses, if not all of them.