Skip to main content

PyCon 2011: Interview with Geremy Condra

by Brian Curtin

Putting together two talks for a conference like PyCon is certainly no easy task, nor is it easy to pile on a lightning talk and the organization of a Birds of a Feather (BoF) session or two. That’s Geremy Condra’s plan for March 11 through March 13 at PyCon.

The security researcher from the University of Washington heads to Atlanta for a second time, looking forward to an even better conference compared to last year’s blast. “My favorite part is definitely the degree of accessibility the conference offers - between the lightning talks, poster sessions, BoF sessions, etc.,” he says.

Although the PyCon talk schedule may have you believe the day is over by dinner time, that’s only half of it. As Geremy mentions, “PyCon's enormous strength is in its ability to connect diverse parts of the Python community.” One of the ways this happens is through the many Open Space and BoF sessions in the evening. Add to that all of the thrown together hallway events, ad hoc sprints, games, and much more, and it quickly becomes a 24-hour gathering.

During the day you’ll have a chance to hear Geremy’s take on TUF, a library for secure software updates in Python. Asked what common security issues developers are facing, Geremy answers, “Most devs make their security mistakes when they try to figure out who the adversary is - misplacing trust, assuming that adversaries are weaker (or just differently capable) than they actually are, that sort of thing. This seems to happen a lot with client side code, especially when it comes to downloading files.” Rollback and mix-and-match attacks like this are some of the topics of this talk, including a demonstration of the vulnerability followed by what TUF can do to protect against it.

“The other big issue is with trusting untrustworthy code,” he claims. “Thinking that
urllib will automatically check certs for you, that your cryptographic routines are secure because you can't figure out what they do,” are some of these issues. Fortunately, these are more easily fixed than others, and also make up a lot of what he plans to speak about at PyCon.

His second talk, Through the Side Channel: Timing and Implementation Attacks in Python dives into some of the great things about Python that can also introduce security risks. Part of the talk is to raise awareness using some Python projects that are in wide use. Additionally, he plans to educate attendees on the methods of defense, leaving them with a better sense of what’s out there and giving them a better chance at spotting and correcting the flaws that leave one’s project open.

I had a chance to ask Geremy about some of his work and his use of Python, and found that almost everything he does uses it. “I build simulations using Fabric, display data using Matplotlib, use Sage to model problems, and of course implement solutions in Python where possible,” he says, also mentioning occasional Haskell use.

Additionally, he’s the creator of several open tools that he uses on the job. The Graphine library, an easy to use graph library for Python 3, is one of his projects. He’s also responsible for EVPy, a set of bindings for OpenSSL’s EVP interface, supporting both Python 2 and 3.

We look forward to the security knowledge Geremy brings to this year’s conference, along with his upcoming book titled “Cryptography and Network Security with Python 3.” If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, get them before all 1,500 are sold out!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PyCon 2018 Call for Proposals is Open!

It’s here! PyCon 2018’s Call for Proposals has officially opened for talks, tutorials, posters, and education summit presentations. PyCon is made by you, so we need you to share what you’re working on, how you’re working on it, what you’ve learned, what you’re learning, and so much more.

Before we dive in, the deadlines:
Tutorial proposals are due November 24, 2017.Talk, Poster, and Education Summit proposals are due January 3, 2018.Who should write a proposal? Everyone!

If you’re reading this post, you should write a proposal. PyCon is about uniting and building the Python community, and we won’t advance as an open community if we’re not open with each other about what we’ve learned throughout our time in it. It isn’t about being the smartest one in the room, so we don’t just pick all of the expert talks. It’s about helping everyone move together. “A rising tide lifts all boats,” if you will.

We need beginner, intermediate, and advanced proposals on all sorts of topics. We also need b…

PyCon 2018 Launches New Site, Sponsorship Search

After two great years in Portland, PyCon is shipping off to Cleveland for the 2018 and 2019 renditions of the Python community's largest gathering. PyCon 2018 will take place May 9 through 17 with two days of tutorials, three days of talks, and four days of development sprints.

For more information, check out our newly refreshed website at https://us.pycon.org/2018/ and follow us here on the blog and at @pycon on Twitter.

New Website

The new site features a design centered on the historic landmark Terminal Tower, a 52 story skyscraper that overlooks downtown Cleveland. When it opened in 1930, the tower was the fourth tallest building in the world and the tallest building outside of New York City. Though its height no longer tops the charts, the tower and surrounding Tower City area remain highly important to the city. What once was a beacon to guide ship captains to Cleveland's port and airplane pilots to its airport, the tower now includes 508 LEDs that light up for the holida…

How to get ready for the PyCon development sprints

[A guest post by Kushal Das, one of the 2016 Sprint Coordinators]So — you have already decided to join in the PyCon development sprints! The sprints run for four days, from Thursday to Sunday after the conference. You do not have to be registered for the conference to attend the sprints! Some teams plan to write code over all four days, while some projects plan a shorter sprint if the organizers cannot stay for all four days.Can you start getting prepared for the sprint ahead of time? Yes!There are several things you can do ahead of time, that can save effort once you arrive at the sprints — and some preparations can even be made at home, before you arrive at PyCon:Have your operating system updated and patched — whether Mac, Windows, or Linux. This eliminates one possible source of problems with getting software up and running.Go ahead and install the version control system that will be used by the projects you are interested in. If you install both git and Mercurial on your computer…