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Setting Bait to Track Data Thieves

Germans use unguarded PCs as honeypots

2 min read

Seven computers hum through the Rhineland night at the University of Mannheim’s Laboratory for Dependable Distributed Systems. All they do is collect bad news and nasty infections from the open Internet.

This is the lab’s honeypot ­network, says Thorsten Holz, a doctoral student at the lab. The honeypots are machines that are walled off from the German university’s network but connected to the Internet. By leaving themselves unguarded and pretending to be operated by naive humans, they tirelessly troll for the latest in spam, worms, viral infections, and malware. Then the honey­pots ­execute the bad code and record what ­happens. Researchers hope that by ­studying the results they’ll get a better understanding of how data is stolen and what happens to it.

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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
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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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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