Hilariously terrifying talk about security

In Not Even Close: The State of Computer Security, a talk given at the Norwegian Deveopers' Conference, Microsoft Research's James Mickens gave the most acerbic, funny, terrifying security talk I can remember seeing (and I've seen a lot of 'em!).

Mickens's talk covers deflation and Bitcoin, the Internet of Things security nightmare, the inanity of DRM, diversity theater, and the problems of securing operating systems, at about a hundred miles per minute, hardly stopping to draw breath, making me convulse with a curious admixture of terror and levity.

In this bleak, relentlessly morbid talk, James Mickens will describe why making computers secure is an intrinsically impossible task. He will explain why no programming language makes it easy to write secure code. He will then discuss why cloud computing is a black hole for privacy, and only useful for people who want to fill your machine with ads, viruses, or viruses that masquerade as ads. At this point in the talk, an audience member may suggest that Bitcoins can make things better. Mickens will laugh at this audience member and then explain why trusting the Bitcoin infrastructure is like asking Dracula to become a vegan. Mickens will conclude by describing why true love is a joke and why we are all destined to die alone and tormented. The first ten attendees will get balloon animals, and/or an unconvincing explanation about why Mickens intended to (but did not) bring balloon animals. Mickens will then flee on horseback while shouting “The Prince of Lies escapes again!”

Not Even Close: The State of Computer Security (with slides) - James Mickens [Vimeo]

(via O'Reilly Radar!)

Notable Replies

  1. This video is pure Magnús!

  2. PAPPP says:

    I fucking love James Mickens. His Usenix login/logout The Night Watch article from back in 2013 is my favorite editorial ever.

  3. This was good. Showed it to my kids.

  4. And yet, we're going to barrel full speed ahead into the internet of things and DRM and Windows goddam ten.

  5. Well... that was fairly bizarre.

    Weird how he can speak so quickly and relatively coherently. Makes me wonder how much prep time he did prior to the presentation.

    I enjoyed most of this talk, since it was humorous, or at least until the Gunter / Magnus malarkey at the end, when he lost me.

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