What On Earth Is Quantum Computing?!? (And will it break all my encryption?)

You might have heard that quantum computers can break public key encryption. You might also have heard that you can buy a quantum computer today, or run programs on one via a cloud service. Yet TLS does not seem to be broken! What is going on? It’s hard to tell, because most “explanations” of quantum computing are either marketing brochures or written for an audience of physics postdocs. This talk will clearly explain what we know about quantum computing today, and how it is relevant to software professionals now and in the near future. We’ll focus on the security space in particular and discuss what quantum computers can do besides factor large integers. Come with questions, leave with a clear vision for how new computing technologies may change your work in the decades to come!

Shifting Application Security Left

Many people agree the best way to avoid security problems in an application is to design security into the architecture from the beginning instead of doing blackbox testing after development is finished. But what does that actually look like in a real-world application development lifecycle? Checklists like the OWASP Top 10 do not tell architects how to best work with infosec professionals or singlehandedly build an application on a secure foundation. Where should a developer even begin? How do you design security into applications based on next week’s JavaScript framework, for which no “best practices” exist? The Information Security Practice Principles, developed by Indiana University’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, provide both a foundation for application security independent of specific technology decisions as well as a means for establishing a common language between designers and defenders. We will work through an example of how to apply the principles build a threat model and an application design, and what this looks like in an “agile” software development lifecycle. Security teams can be an enabler for good design, not just a gateway to block mistakes!

.NET IL: Into the Marianas Trench

Are you interested in writing compilers, targeting Web Assembly, finding security issues automatically, binary analysis, or understanding performance at a low level? While it’s always good to know how your language works, the benefits of understanding the intermediate language extend to metaprogramming and analysis across multiple source languages. Learning how to work with intermediate languages allows you to write programs which would seem unattainable otherwise. You will learn not only how IL works but how it compares with LLVM IR, Java Bytecode, and other intermediate representations. No mere “deep dive,” you’ll leave this talk really understanding how C# turns into microcode and how to use that information to do “impossible” things.

Secure Applications, by Design

There is a lot of good security advice in the world, but checklists like the OWASP Top 10 do not tell you how to design security into your application. Where should a developer even begin? You’ll leave this session with a process for building security in depth into your application architecture, using a human-centered user experience design, threat modeling, partitioning, defense in depth, and static analysis in continuous integration. Not yet another checklist, you’ll learn how to make security the foundation on which the rest of your application is built.

High Speed Bug Discovery with Fuzzing

Unit testing is helpful at preventing regressions and guiding design, but it doesn’t do a great job of helping you with exploratory testing. How can you find hidden defects in your code without a lot of manual analysis? Fuzzing is a simple but surprisingly effective technique which has been responsible for finding nearly all of the security vulnerabilities uncovered in Flash over the past five years. But it’s not just limited to finding security defects! The technique was very successfully used to stabilize the Microsoft document importers for Open Office and check C++ compiler standards compliance. You’ll leave this talk knowing when to use fuzzing to test your application, which tools you should use, how to implement a fuzzer from scratch, and when other techniques are a better choice.

Mashing Up QA and Security

Security is domain specific quality assurance, but developers, testers, and security professionals often don’t work together. When this type of disconnect exists between big groups of people who are very good at their jobs, there is usually a mostly untapped potential for learning. I’ve been exploring this landscape by writing an open source fuzzer aimed at discovering new test cases (not just crashes!) using binary rewriting of managed executables and genetic modification of a test corpus, implemented in F# and using Mono.Cecil. I’ll ontrast the fundamentals of each discipline, demonstrate tools used by experts on both sides of the security and QA fence, and challenge the audience to find new ways to mix them up. Expect to see lots of code and leave with ideas for making entire communities better, not just your own team!

Incredibly Strange Programming Languages

If you’ve ever suspected that “all programming languages are pretty much the same; they just have different syntax,” well, you will never suspect that again! Covering languages from the unusually powerful (Idris) to the illuminated (قلب) to the profoundly limited (BlooP), and all points in between, these languages will help you think differently about approaches to software problems you face in your day job. Of course we’ll have a lot of fun, but these languages are no joke. The practical benefit of an impractical language is the power to find new approaches to common problems.

Programs that Write Programs: How Compilers Work

Compilers are the bridge between the code you write and the applications you run. While production compilers can be quite complicated, the principles of compiler design are not too hard to learn, and are broadly applicable to many seemingly difficult programming problems. In this session you will learn how every phase of a real compiler works, including lexing, parsing, type checking, optimization, and code generation. The lessons learned here will help you with many common programming problems, such as deserialization, maintaining large amounts of legacy code, static analysis, testing, and validation. Full source code for a working compiler targeting the .NET CLR will be included!

The Limits of Testing and How to Exceed Them

Your unit tests pass and your code coverage looks great, so you can just hit “Deploy” and head out for the weekend, right? Unfortunately, passing tests, while useful, do not guarantee that your system works correctly. We can do better! Techniques such as property based testing, fuzzing, dependent types, and manual testing can be combined with unit testing to ensure highly reliable software. How do you know when you are really, truly “covered” by a unit test and when you must employ other techniques? You will learn precisely what unit testing really does, what it can never do, and how to create the best plan for ensuring the overall quality of your application.

How to Use Real Computer Science in Your Day Job

When you leave Lambda Jam and return to work, do you expect to apply what you’ve learned here to hard problems, or is there just never time or permission to venture outside of fixing “undefined is not a function” in JavaScript? Many of us do use functional languages, machine learning, proof assistants, parsing, and formal methods in our day jobs, and employment by a CS research department is not a prerequisite. As a consultant who wants to choose the most effective tool for the job and keep my customers happy in the process, I’ve developed a structured approach to finding ways to use the tools of the future (plus a few from the 70s!) in the enterprises of today. I’ll share that with you and examine research into the use of formal methods in other companies. I hope you will leave the talk excited about your job!

Your Flying Car is Ready: Amazing Programming Tools of the Future, Today!

What if simply writing “unit tests” was enough to produce a program which makes them pass? What if your compiler could guarantee that your OpenSSL replacement follows the TLS specification to the letter? What if you could write a test which showed that your code had no unintentional behavior?

Microsoft Research is well known for its contributions to Kinect, F#, the Entity Framework, WorldWide Telescope, and more, but it’s also the home of a number of programming tools which do things which many programmers would consider surprising, if not impossible. But they work, and in this session you’ll see them in action.

Like the idea of code contracts, but concerned about runtime performance and errors? The Dafny language can check contracts at compile time. Sounds a bit magical, but it works! I’ll use the Z3 theorem prover to generate working programs from specifications alone. Sound impractical? I’ll explain how it is used to make Hyper-V and Windows Azure secure. I’ll show the F7 specification language for F# and relate how its authors used it to not only produce a TLS implementation which probably follows the spec, but to also identify dangerous holes in the TLS specification itself. You’ll learn how Amazon uses the TLA+ specification language to prove that there are no edge cases in its internal protocols.

Far from being research toys, these tools are in daily use in cases where stability, security, and reliability of code matters most. Can they help with your hardest problems? You might be surprised!

Cloud Security, For Real This Time: Homomorphic Encryption and the Future of Online Privacy

Online tax preparation or financial advice sounds like a viable business, but “secure” sites are broken every day. Consumers are rightly wary of disclosing their personal information to cloud-based service providers. How can you build a service which delivers real value and is backed by a hard, cryptographic guarantee of security?

What if it were possible for a customer to give their data to a cloud provider in encrypted form, and for that provider to perform useful computations on that data without ever decrypting it? The results would be delivered to the customer, encrypted with a key that only they knew. It sounds like an ideal solution, but maybe impossible?

This is the promise of homomorphic encryption. The idea has been around for some time, but it was considered intriguing but maybe not possible until Craig Gentry’s groundbreaking thesis. Gentry later published a much more accessible paper called “Computing Arbitrary Functions of Encrypted Data”.

Diagnosing Cancer with Azure Machine Learning

Central Ohio Cloud Computing User Group ·10 November 2014 · Slides Machine learning allows you to find solutions to problems which are not solvable by other means. Azure Machine Learning provides a mix of features designed to allow you to easily create “predictions as a service. This presentation is both an introduction to machine learning concepts for developers new to the field and an example of how to solve real problems with Azure ML. We will build an experiment to predict cancer diagnoses based on observed characteristics of diagnostic imaging. We will also compare what we have built with other systems which attempt to solve the same class of problems and give pointers for learning more.

Dealing with Outside Pressure - Staying Scrum

Along the Agile adoption journey, Scrum teams are faced with both internal and external obstacles to fully embracing Scrum and reaping the benefits. Internally, teams may compromise on the essential elements of Scrum, such as not holding a retrospective at the end of a sprint or holding stand-ups only when the entire team is present rather than on a daily basis. Collectively, these compromises are known as “ScrumButs” and are all too common and dilute the benefits that Scrum provides to software projects. These obstacles may also be applied externally, such as a requirement for a detailed project plan or “gate reviews” for the project to proceed to the next “phase.” Managing these obstacles to ensure that the benefits of Scrum are fully realized while understanding and managing the organizational culture are important to a successful adoption and maintaining continuous improvement.