I Will Be Speaking At CppCon 2019

In addition to my class at CppCon 2019: Exploiting Modern C++, I will also be speaking during the main program.


I will be giving my talk If You Can’t Open It, You Don’t Own It. This is going to be somewhat different than my talk at C++Now.

Here’s the abstract:

For the past 30 years, we have dealt with penetrations into secure systems almost exclusively from the software layer: applications and operating systems. With the advent of side channel exploits like Spectre, Meltdown and Foreshadow, hardware designs are now battlefields. In this talk, we’ll look at four real-world hardware attacks that changed the way we think about secure systems and see how hardware exploit strategies drive software exploit strategies.

And what that means for the future of Modern C++.

We’ll explore four lines of attack:

  • Roots of Trust,
  • Side channels exploits,
  • How physical access creates opportunities, and
  • How our supply chains often create our greatest vulnerabilities.

As the Standards Committee puts the final touches on C++20 this year, we’ll use these as the framework to get an inside look at the committee’s efforts to build a safer, more resilient language. We’ll see:

  • How new language features, like Concepts, Contracts and Ranges, help (or hurt) our ability to write secure software.
  • How Undefined Behavior is explicitly used by compiler developers to generate high performance machine code and what that means for software security.
  • Which proposals coming for C++23, like Zero-overhead deterministic exceptions and secure_clear, will help address some of the worst vulnerabilities in the language.

This talk is about how our language and design choices affect our system’s ability to withstand attack. It’s also about how the evolution of the language is addressing the insecure world it operates in and the places where it still falls short.