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Software systems can be validated as conforming to the CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java. Source code analysis tools, including compilers and static analysis tools, can be certified as able to validate source code as conforming to this coding standard.

Normative versus Nonnormative Text

Portions of this coding standard are intended to be normative; other portions are intended as good advice. The normative statements in these rules are the requirements for conformance with the standard. Normative statements use imperative language such as must, shall, and require. Normative portions of each rule must be analyzable, although automated analysis is infeasible for some rules and is not required.


Entirely nonnormative guidelines are excluded from this coding standard, but the authors of this book plan a follow-on effort to publish these guidelines.

Source Code Conformance

Conformance to The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java can be used as a security indicator or metric. Although conformance does not guarantee the absence of vulnerabilities (for example, vulnerabilities resulting from design flaws), it does guarantee the absence of coding errors that are commonly found to be the root causes of vulnerabilities.

The easiest way to validate code as conforming to The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java is to use a validated source code analysis tool.


Guidelines in this standard are classified into three levels (see Rule: Priority and Levels). Emphasis should be placed on conformance Level 1 (L1) guidelines. Software systems that are validated as complying with all Level 1 guidelines are considered to be L1 conforming. Software systems can be assessed as L1, L2, or fully conforming depending on the set of guidelines to which the system is validated.

Deviation Procedure

Strict adherence to all guidelines is unlikely. Consequently, deviations associated with individual situations are permissible.


To claim compliance with this standard, software developers must be able to produce on request documentation as to which systematic and specific deviations have been permitted during development.

Third-Party Libraries

Static analysis tools such as FindBugs! that analyze Java bytecode can frequently discover violations of this secure coding standard in third-party libraries as well as in custom code. Violations of secure coding rules in third-party libraries are treated in the same manner is if they appeared in custom code.