Error & Exception Handling Routines

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Error and exception handling routines are a part of input validation, and they ensure that an application can handle an error gracefully. If you’re planning to take the Security+ exam, you should have a basic understanding of secure coding concepts such as input validation and error & exception handling.

For example, can you answer this question?

Q. Web developers are implementing error and exception handling in a web site application. Which of the following represents a best practice for this?

A. Displaying a detailed error message but logging generic information on the error

B. Displaying a generic error message but logging detailed information on the error

C. Displaying a generic error message and logging generic information on the error

D. Displaying a detailed error message and logging detailed information on the error

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation is available at the end of this post.

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CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

  • Introduction
  • About the exam (including types of questions and strategies for performance-based questions)
  • 100 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Control Types and Methods (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Basic Network Security (full content from Chapter 3 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Your Network (full content from Chapter 4 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Hosts and Data (full content from Chapter 5 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Malware and Social Engineering (full content from Chapter 6 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Identifying Advanced Attacks (full content from Chapter 7 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Managing Risk (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Preparing for Business Continuity (full content from Chapter 9 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Cryptography (full content from Chapter 10 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Operational Security (full content from Chapter 11 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • 100 question post-assessment exam
  • Security+ Acronyms

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Test your readiness with these quality materials

Random 100-question tests

Random practice tests from the all of the practice test questions in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide. All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

34 Simulated Performance-based Questions

Eight sets of performance-based questions with multiple questions in each set. These questions help you understand and prepare for performance based questions.

22 Realistic Performance-based Questions

Two new sets of performance-based questions with a total of 22 questions. These new questions use a new testing engine that includes realistic drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions.

Flashcard Set

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Avoiding Race Conditions

When two or more modules of an application, or two or more applications, attempt to access a resource at the same time, it can cause a conflict known as a race condition. Most application developers are aware of race conditions and include methods to avoid them when writing code. However, when new developers aren’t aware of race conditions, or they ignore them, a race condition can cause significant problems.

As a simple example of a potential problem, imagine you are buying a plane ticket online and use the web application to pick your seat. You find a window seat and select it. However, at the same time you’re selecting this window seat, someone else is, too. You both make the purchase at the same time and you both have tickets with the same seat number. You arrive after the other person and he’s unwilling to move, showing his ticket with the seat number. A flight attendant ultimately helps you find a seat. Unfortunately, it’s between two burly gentlemen who have been on an all-cabbage diet for the last week. You probably wouldn’t be too happy.

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In reality, online ticketing applications for planes, concerts, and more avoid this type of race condition. In some cases, they lock the selection before offering it to a customer. In other cases, they double-check for a conflict later in the process. Most database applications have internal concurrency control processes to prevent two entities from modifying a value at the same time. However, inexperienced web application developers often overlook race conditions.

Error and Exception Handling

Error and exception handling routines are a part of input validation, and they ensure that an application can handle an error gracefully. They catch errors and provide user-friendly feedback to the user. When an application doesn’t catch an error, it can cause the application to fail. In the worst-case scenario, a faulty application can cause the operating system to crash. Using effective error- and exception-handling routines protects the integrity of the underlying operating system.

Error and Exception Handling

When an application doesn’t catch an error, it often provides debugging information that attackers can use against the application. In contrast, when an application catches the error, it can control what information it shows to the user. There are two important points about error reporting:

  • Errors to users should be general. Detailed errors provide information that attackers can use against the system, so the errors should be general. Attackers can analyze the errors to determine details about the system. For example, if an application is unable to connect with a database, the returned error can let the attacker know exactly what type of database the system is running. This indirectly lets the attacker know what types of commands the system will accept. Also, detailed errors confuse most users.
  • Detailed information should be logged. Detailed information on the errors typically includes debugging information. This information makes it easier for developers to identify what caused the error and how to resolve it.

CompTIA Security+ Study Guide (SY0-401)

The 401 Version of the Study Guide is Now Available

SY0-401 Study GuideThe CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide is an update to the top-selling SY0-201 and SY0-301 study guides, which have helped thousands of readers pass the exam the first time they took it.

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Remember this

Error and exception handling helps protect the integrity of the operating system and controls the errors shown to users. Applications should show generic error messages to users but log detailed information.


Security+ Practice Test Questions

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All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct,

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Multiple quiz formats to let you use these questions based on the way you learn.
  • Learn mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
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INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions

Q. Web developers are implementing error and exception handling in a web site application. Which of the following represents a best practice for this?

A. Displaying a detailed error message but logging generic information on the error

B. Displaying a generic error message but logging detailed information on the error

C. Displaying a generic error message and logging generic information on the error

D. Displaying a detailed error message and logging detailed information on the error

Answer is B. You should display a generic error message but log detailed information on the error.

Detailed error messages to the user are often confusing to them and give attackers information they can use against the system.

Logging generic information makes it more difficult to troubleshoot the problem later.

See Chapter 7 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide for more information on coding concepts.

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