Last January, I wrote a post on this blog bemoaning the difficulty of making security interesting and “sexy” to developers. Applied research conferences generally place a much greater emphasis on revealing new vulnerabilities and new attack techniques, and much less emphasis on educating people on how to actually fix those vulnerabilities. I was at RSA Conference last April, and I attended a session by a very well-regarded, high-profile security researcher. He gave an eloquent and educational presentation on the dangers of a significant new attack vector, but all the prescriptive guidance he gave for dealing with the threat amounted to something like, “If you’re worried about this kind of thing, talk to your browser manufacturer.” No offense to this presenter, but if I’m going to listen to 70 minutes of discussion of a dangerous threat, I want to leave the room with a clear understanding of what I can do to solve the problem! It’s not enough just to know that the problem exists.
So, in conjunction with the BlueHat team, I am pleased to announce that the SDL team will be organizing the sessions for the second day of the fall BlueHat conference. The BlueHat SDL sessions will be laser-focused on not just describing vulnerabilities but also solving them. Every attendee should leave every presentation with a clear idea of exactly what he or she needs to do to protect themselves from the threat that was discussed during the session.
The sessions will begin, appropriately, with the topic of secure design. Danny Dhillon of EMC and the SDL team’s own Adam Shostack will each present their organization’s approach to threat modeling. As a bonus, Adam will also be demonstrating the new SDL Threat Modeling tool that you might have heard about last week.
Next up is Matt Miller, a recent and very welcome addition to the Microsoft Security Science team. Matt has a fantastic presentation on the evolution of buffer overflow attacks and on the corresponding development of overflow mitigations. From there we will switch gears to look at some managed code implementation issues: iSEC Partners’ Scott Stender and Alex Vidergar will demonstrate coding techniques to mitigate elusive concurrency vulnerabilities in web applications.
At this point we will have covered the Design and Implementation phases of the SDL; where better to go from here than Verification? One of the most important activities in the Verification phase is fuzzing, and we have a trio of security experts from the Microsoft Security Science team to talk about it. Jason Shirk, Lars Opstad, and Dave Weinstein will answer three of the most common fuzzing questions: How should I fuzz? When have I fuzzed enough? And what do I do now that I’ve fuzzed?
Finally, we will wrap up the Verification phase talks with a return appearance to BlueHat by Stach & Liu’s Vinnie Liu. Vinnie will compare different approaches to security verification – static code analysis, blackbox analysis, and manual code review – and make recommendations as to when each approach is best used.
Even if you can’t make it in to BlueHat in person, you can still watch the sessions via streaming media on TechNet. Additionally, webcast interviews with the speakers – condensed “Cliff’s Notes” versions of their full presentations – will be posted on Channel 9. And we’ll be continuing the BlueHat tradition of inviting speakers and other industry notables to guest blog about their topics and the latest security trends. More information on all of these resources will be posted here when it becomes available.