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My Dad's Computer

A conversation with Internet security expert William R. Cheswick

3 min read

"Firewalls are a hack and should go away." A lot of people think that, but unlike William R. Cheswick, most of them haven't coauthored the enormously successful reference book Firewalls and Internet Security: Repelling the Wily Hacker, now in its second edition (Addison-Wesley).

Ches, as he's usually called, is a happy contrarian. In the summer of 2000, just as the telecom bubble was bursting, he and several colleagues left Lucent Technologies Inc. to start up Lumeta Corp., in Somerset, N.J. Today, half the Fortune 200 and many large government agencies have hired Lumeta to probe their networks for vulnerabilities. Last month, Cheswick gave a talk at an Internet security conference entitled "My Dad's Computer, Microsoft, and the Future of Internet Security." He spoke recently with IEEE Spectrum Senior Associate Editor Steven Cherry.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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