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The increasing complexity and size of software programs contribute to the growth in software flaws. For example, Microsoft Windows 2000 reportedly contains about 35 million lines of code, compared with about 15 million lines for Windows 95.
As reported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), based on various studies of code inspections, most estimates suggest that there are as many as 20 flaws per thousand lines of software code. While most flaws do not create security vulnerabilities, the potential for these errors reflects the difficulty and complexity involved in delivering trustworthy code. By exploiting software vulnerabilities, hackers and others who spread malicious code can cause significant damage, ranging from website defacement to taking control of entire systems, and thereby being able to read, modify, or delete sensitive information, destroy systems, disrupt operations, or launch attacks against other organizations’ systems.