DeepSec 2022 Keynote: Complexity killed the Cat

René Pfeiffer/ November 8, 2022/ Conference

Complex systems is not a term indicating that you have stopped to understand something. The colloquial phrase „it’s complicated“ is often used as a joke. Complex systems have their own science. Information technology has managed to make our daily life easier. Applications manage vast amount of data, communication protocols transport countless numbers of messages, systems just work, and everything is fine. The problem is that code usually grows and never shrinks. This has implication for software development and for information security.

The keynote will take you on a tour through complex systems, complexity, the limits of growth, and how the consequences can be managed in a sane way. The presentation will also try to remind you to ask questions, think twice about selecting appropriate metrics, and how to apply this approach to the tools you use in defending systems from attackers. It is impossible to condense the world into an hour of presentation, but it is possible to focus on the key issues that decide how successful your IT defence will be. I will also raise some questions and mention the top threats to information technology and its users.

Portrait photo of René „Lynx“ Pfeiffer.René Pfeiffer was born in the year of Atari’s founding and the release of the game Pong. Since his early youth he started taking things apart to see how they work. He couldn’t even pass construction sites without looking for electrical wires that might seem interesting. The interest in computing began when his grandfather bought him a 4-bit micro-controller with 256 byte RAM and a 4096 byte operating system, forcing him to learn Texas Instruments TMS 1600 assembler before any other programming language. He teaches selected topics of computer science, secure coding, manages IT infrastructure, and assists with improving configurations and code.

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About René Pfeiffer

System administrator, lecturer, hacker, security consultant, technical writer and DeepSec organisation team member. Has done some particle physics, too. Prefers encrypted messages for the sake of admiring the mathematical algorithms at work.