So, we encountered a privacy violation issue in our C# code, flagged by Checkmarx due to mishandling of sensitive information, such as personally identifiable information (PII), passwords, or other confidential data.

We need to carefully review our code and ensure that we handle sensitive information securely and in compliance with privacy regulations.

Here are some steps we can take to address the privacy violation:

  1. Audit sensitive data handling:

    We need to audit our codebase to identify any instances where sensitive information is being accessed, processed, or stored. This includes reviewing database queries, file I/O operations, network communication, and memory management.

  2. Implement encryption:

    Any sensitive data that needs to be stored or transmitted should be encrypted using strong cryptographic algorithms. This helps protect the data from unauthorized access in case of a breach. We can use libraries such as System.Security.Cryptography in .NET to implement encryption and decryption functionality.

  3. Secure data transmission:

    When transmitting sensitive data over networks, we should use secure communication protocols such as HTTPS. This ensures that data is encrypted during transit and reduces the risk of interception or eavesdropping.

  4. Apply access controls:

    Access to sensitive data should be restricted to authorized users only. We can implement access controls and authentication mechanisms to enforce proper authorization and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.


Our Experience with Checkmarx False Positive

When we encountered a false positive issue with Checkmarx, it's flagging variables with names like 'password', 'credentials', 'Authentication', etc., when they're assigned a value, warning us that we might be storing sensitive information in the code (hardcoding it). However, in the case we mentioned, this is not sensitive information.

In our view, false positives like this can sometimes occur when static code analysis tools like Checkmarx rely solely on variable names to detect potential security issues, while it's essential to be cautious about handling sensitive information, not all variable names imply the presence of sensitive data.

To address this false positive, we can consider the following steps:

  1. Review variable context:

    We need to review the context in which these variables are used. If the variables are indeed storing sensitive information, we should ensure that proper security measures are in place to protect them. However, if they are used for benign purposes, we can disregard the warning.

  2. Adjust Checkmarx configuration:

    We can adjust the configuration of Checkmarx to reduce the sensitivity of variable name checks or customize the rules to better suit our codebase and coding practices.

  3. Provide explanatory comments:

    Adding comments to clarify the purpose of variables with potentially sensitive names can help alleviate concerns raised by Checkmarx and provide context for future code reviewers..