DevSecBioLawOps and the current State of Information Security

René „Lynx“ Pfeiffer

DeepSec In-Depth Security Conference


  • 🆔 René „Lynx“ Pfeiffer
  • ℹ Senior Systems Administrator
  • DeepSec In-Depth Security Conference organisation team
  • ☢ Study of theoretical physics
  • 🕸 Internet user since 1992
  • ⏳ 30+ years of experience with software development, computing platforms, and systems administration




  • 1960s : Organisation use passwords 🛂
  • 1970s : Worm/virus PoC, CREEPER & Reaper 🪱
  • 1980s : 📞 War dialling & war games, Morris worm, CERT founded
  • 1990s : 🔥 Firewalls to the rescue! 🧯
  • 2000s : 🚔 Governments catch up! 🪖
  • 2010s : 🌊 Data leaks on the scale of nuclear disasters
  • 2020s : 💡 Invention of using the prefix Dev to solve every problem
  • 2021+ : 🌪 All of the above plus ? and lots of Dev!

Information Security Basics

Computer Science, Telecommunications, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Psychology, Law, Linguistics, Sociology, Economics, Logistics, Administration, Accounting, …

InfoSec Barriers

  • How to get started with information security?
    • Spoiler: Nowadays you can start anywhere. 🌍
  • How to acquire the necessary skills in one lifetime?
    • Companies looks for experts in their mid-20s with decades of experience. 🦄
    • Constant degradation of education programmes. 🏚
  • How to stay up-to-date?
    • git pull not feasible for human brain.
    • Trends (📈) and buzzwords (💩) cloud (👈🙃) important knowledge.

Silo Mentality

Silos rule the World

  • Information technology requires specialisation
    • 📜 Background knowledge is mandatory
    • 🛠 Toolchains (programming languages, frameworks, …)
  • No new phenomenon
    • 🧠 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz († 1716) probably last universal expert
    • 🩺 Specialisation is best practice in other fields
  • Accelerated by pace of technology
    • 🧮 Moore’s Law
    • 📺 13+ HDMI specs, ♾ generations of CPUs, millions of (cr)apps, …
    • 🧻 „Rolling updates“ 🚽

Adding Mindsets

  • Silos create or solve problems depending on mindset
    • Requires respect of other experts 🤝
    • Communication and common language mandatory 🗣 👥
  • Information technology is often different
    • 🏆 My silo is better than yours! 🥇
    • ☠ Your silo blocks progress in my silo! 🤬
    • 🏅 My silo is most important for the project! 🚀

Example: Serverless Computing

  • Serverless is a “new” “technology” for development/production
    • Serverless has servers 🤭
    • Serverless means “I don’t care about the platform” 🖕
    • Serverless means “let somebody else worry about the details” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Valid approach for certain scenarios
  • Deconstructing silo mindsets
    • Serverless = administrator-less
    • 💰 Vendor lock-in 💰
    • The S in computing is for security.

Breaking Barriers

Complexity of the World

First Steps

  • 📝 Creating words beginning with Dev does not solve anything
  • 📇 Teams will always have to cover a spectrum of knowledge
    • 📯 Make sure team members can communicate
    • 🫂Make sure everyone respects each other
    • ✒ Keep overhead and administration as low as possible
  • Accommodate for sensible knowledge transfer
    • Transferring decades of experience is impossible
    • Use didactic methods!
  • Allow team members to make mistakes.

Leave Room for Criticism

  • ⛓ One Method to bind Them All
    • Doesn’t exist. 🥳
    • Apollo 11 didn’t use Scrum or Agile. 😈
  • 🧰 Use what works best for your team
    • Personalities dictate how your team operates
    • Be able to address and implement change
  • Analyse results / failures / feedback.

Rediscover the Lost World of Facts

  • 🔠 Information security leans on evidence
  • 💯 Good metrics are few and far between
    • 🤫 Few “experts” can read numbers or deal with mathematics
    • 📽 95% of all visualisations give the remaining 5% a bad reputation
  • 🔍 Create processes for fact-finding
    • 🔎 Question all your tools and frameworks
    • 🔦 Question all your vendors
    • 🪓 Eliminate assumptions as completely as possible

Why all of the Suggestions won’t work (I)

Why all of the Suggestions won’t work (II)

Key take aways:

  • Do something. You have to start somewhere.
  • Don't get intimidated by complexity.
  • Don't get distracted by trends.
  • Work with the personalities in your team, not against them.

Are there any Questions?

Link Collection

About the Author

René „Lynx“ 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 microcontroller with 256 byte RAM and a 4096 byte operating system, forcing him to learn Texas Instruments TMS 1600 assembler before any other programming language.

After finishing school he went to university in order to study physics. He then collected experiences with a C64, a C128, two Commodore Amigas, DEC's Ultrix, OpenVMS and finally GNU/Linux on a PC in 1997. He is using Linux since this day and still likes to take things apart und put them together again. Freedom of tinkering brought him close to the Free Software movement, where he puts some effort into the right to understand how things work – which he still does.

René is a senior systems administrator, a lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien and FH Burgenland, and a senior security consultant. He uses all the skills in order to develop security architectures, maintain/improve IT infrastructure, test applications, and to analyse security-related attributes of applications, networks (wired/wireless, components), (cryptographic algorithms), protocols, servers, cloud platforms, and more indicators of modern life.