Wired Hails Rust as ‘the Viral Secure Programming Language That’s Taking Over Tech’

A new article from Wired calls Rust “the ‘viral’ secure programming language that’s taking over tech.”

“Rust makes it impossible to introduce some of the most common security vulnerabilities. And its adoption can’t come soon enough….”

[A] growing movement to write software in a language called Rust is gaining momentum because the code is goof-proof in an important way. By design, developers can’t accidentally create the most common types of exploitable security vulnerabilities when they’re coding in Rust, a distinction that could make a huge difference in the daily patch parade and ultimately the world’s baseline cybersecurity….

[B]ecause Rust produces more secure code [than C] and, crucially, doesn’t worsen performance to do it, the language has been steadily gaining adherents and now is at a turning point. Microsoft, Google, and Amazon Web Services have all been utilizing Rust since 2019, and the three companies formed the nonprofit Rust Foundation with Mozilla and Huawei in 2020 to sustain and grow the language. And after a couple of years of intensive work, the Linux kernel took its first steps last month to implement Rust support. “It’s going viral as a language,” says Dave Kleidermacher, vice president of engineering for Android security and privacy. “We’ve been investing in Rust on Android and across Google, and so many engineers are like, ‘How do I start doing this? This is great’….”

By writing new software in Rust instead, even amateur programmers can be confident that they haven’t introduced any memory-safety bugs into their code…. These types of vulnerabilities aren’t just esoteric software bugs. Research and auditing have repeatedly found that they make up the majority of all software vulnerabilities. So while you can still make mistakes and create security flaws while programming in Rust, the opportunity to eliminate memory-safety vulnerabilities is significant….

“Yes, it’s a lot of work, it will be a lot of work, but the tech industry has how many trillions of dollars, plus how many talented programmers? We have the resources,” says Josh Aas, executive director of the Internet Security Research Group, which runs the memory-safety initiative Prossimo as well as the free certificate authority Let’s Encrypt. “Problems that are merely a lot of work are great.”
Here’s how Dan Lorenc, CEO of the software supply-chain security company Chainguard, explains it to Wired. “Over the decades that people have been writing code in memory-unsafe languages, we’ve tried to improve and build better tooling and teach people how to not make these mistakes, but there are just limits to how much telling people to try harder can actually work.

“So you need a new technology that just makes that entire class of vulnerabilities impossible, and that’s what Rust is finally bringing to the table.”

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