24 minutes | May 31, 2022
All Together Now
Our show is all about heroes making great strides in technology. But in InfoSec, not every hero expects to ride off into the sunset. In our series finale, we tackle vulnerability scans, how sharing information can be a powerful tool against cyber crime, and why it’s more important than ever for cybersecurity to have more people, more eyes, and more voices, in the fight.Wietse Venema gives us the story of SATAN, and how it didn’t destroy the world as expected. Maitreyi Sistla tells us how representation helps coders build things that work for everyone. And Mary Chaney shines a light on how hiring for a new generation can prepare us for a bold and brighter future. If you want to read up on some of our research on the InfoSec community, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
23 minutes | May 17, 2022
What began as a supposed accounting error landed Cliff Stoll in the midst of database intrusions, government organizations, and the beginnings of a newer threat—cyber-espionage. This led the eclectic astronomer-cum-systems administrator to create what we know today as intrusion detection. And it all began at a time when people didn’t understand the importance of cybersecurity. This is a story that many in the infosec community have already heard, but the lessons from Stoll’s journey are still relevant. Katie Hafner gives us the background on this unbelievable story. Richard Bejtlich outlines the “honey pot” that finally cracked open the international case. And Don Cavender discusses the impact of Stoll’s work, and how it has inspired generations of security professionals. If you want to read up on some of our research on ransomware, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
23 minutes | May 3, 2022
It’s a strange situation when someone can hold something hostage from halfway around the world. It’s tragic when your own pictures and files are remotely encrypted. But when it’s a hospital’s system? Ransomware becomes a problem about life or death. Eddy Willems recounts his involvement in defeating an early ransomware attack that targeted AIDS researchers. At the time, there was a way to discover the encryption key. But as Moti Yung warned, asymmetric encryption would change everything. In the years since, ransomware attacks have become much more popular—thanks in part to the rise of cryptocurrencies. While criminals think it’s an anonymous way to collect payment, Sheila Warren tells us that the opposite is actually true. If you want to read up on some of our research on ransomware, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
23 minutes | Apr 19, 2022
Menace in the Middle
All communication leaves the possibility for crossed wires. And as we become more connected, there’s a chance for those with ill intentions to steal our information and meddle in our daily lives—with devastating results. Smriti Bhatt breaks down the complexity behind machine-in-the-middle attacks. Johannes Ullrich tells us why we shouldn’t always trust that free WiFi. And the “father of SSL” Taher Elgamal notes that while cryptography can address the increasingly sophisticated nature of malware, there are no safe bets in security.If you want to read up on some of our research on machine in the middle attacks, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes.Follow along with the episode transcript.
24 minutes | Apr 5, 2022
Dawn of the Botnets
Overwhelming numbers are scary—even in the best of circumstances. You can plan for them, build up your defenses, and do everything imaginable to prepare. But when that horde of zombies hits, their sheer numbers can still cause devastation. Botnets are digital zombie hordes. Jamie Tomasello recounts the scale of the Bredolab botnet—and the many malicious kinds of missions it carried out. Martijn Grooten explains how botnets work, and why they can be so difficult to permanently dismantle. And Darren Mott shares some of the successes the FBI had in rounding up some of the world’s most prolific bot herders. If you want to read up on some of our research on botnets, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
22 minutes | Mar 22, 2022
Lurking Logic Bombs
Logic bombs rarely have warning sounds. The victims mostly don’t know to expect one. And even when a logic bomb is discovered before it’s triggered, there isn’t always enough time to defuse it. But there are ways to stop them in time. Paul Ducklin recounts the race to defuse the CIH logic bomb—and the horrible realization of how widespread it was. Costin Raiu explains how logic bombs get planted, and all the different kinds of damage they can do. And Manuel Egele shares some strategies for detecting logic bombs before their conditions are met. If you want to read up on some of our research on logic bombs, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
23 minutes | Mar 8, 2022
Sometimes a fun game, a friendly email, or an innocuous link can be the most convenient place for an enemy to hide. And its prey is none the wiser—until it strikes. The trojan horse uses many layers of deception to do damage. The ingenuity of these attacks keeps an alarming pace with the technology we use every day. But as long as we stick to trusted sites and sources, we can better the odds against those who use our trusting nature against us. Steve Weisman tells us about how trojans still keep security professionals on the defensive. Josephine Wolff details how these attacks have evolved, and keep evolving, to catch victims off guard. And Yanick Franantonio takes on the new frontier for trojan attacks. If you want to read up on some of our research on trojans, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes.Follow along with the episode transcript.
25 minutes | Feb 22, 2022
Computer viruses and worms haunt the internet. They worm their way into a system, replicate, and spread again. It’s a simple process—with devastating consequences. But there’s a whole industry of people that rose up to fight back. Craig Schmugar recalls how he and his team responded to MyDoom, one of the fastest-spreading worms ever. Dr. Nur Zincir-Heywood reveals the inner workings of viruses and worms, and how they draw their names from the world of biology. And security expert Mikko Hypponen shares advice on avoiding malware. But he also warns that we’re in an arms race against malware developers. If you want to read up on some of our research on viruses and worms, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
3 minutes | Feb 8, 2022
Command Line Heroes Season 9: The Horrors of Malware
Malware haunts us all. Viruses, worms, trojan horses, and the harm they do often corrupts the promise of the internet. But the world of computing continues to grow. Though it’s changed us forever, malware hasn’t stopped us from connecting. Season 9 of Command Line Heroes is the culmination of the show. We focus on security and the people who, every day, face the monsters of the digital world. They disinfect computers from viruses, defuse logic bombs, and dismantle botnets. But they can’t do it alone. It’ll take all of us working together to make the world a safer place.The first episode drops February 22, 2022. Subscribe today and sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates.
25 minutes | Dec 14, 2021
Robot as Vehicle
Self-driving cars are seemingly just around the corner. These robots aren’t quite ready for the streets. For every hyped-up self-driving showcase, there’s a news story about its failure. But the good news is that we get closer every year. Alex Davies steers us through the history of autonomous vehicles. Alex Kendall maps the current self-driving landscape. And Jason Millar takes us under the hood of these robots’ computers to better understand how they make decisions. If you want to read up on some of our research on self-driving cars, you can check our all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
24 minutes | Nov 30, 2021
Robot as Threat
When a robot goes bad, who is responsible? It’s not always clear if the user or the manufacturer is liable when a robot leaves the lot. Human behavior can be complex—and often contradictory. Asking machines to interpret that behavior is quite the task. Will it one day be possible for a robot to have its own sense of right and wrong? And barring robots acting of their own accord, whose job is it to make sure their actions can’t be hijacked? AJung Moon explains the ethical ramifications of robot AI. Ryan Gariepy talks about the levels of responsibility in robotic manufacturing. Stefanie Tellex highlights security vulnerabilities (and scares us, just a little). Brian Gerkey of Open Robotics discusses reaching the high bar of safety needed to deploy robots. And Brian Christian explores the multi-disciplinary ways humans can impart behavior norms to robots. If you want to read up on some of our research on robots as threats, you can check our all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
22 minutes | Nov 16, 2021
Humans as Robot Caretakers
HitchBOT was an experiment in stewardship: A small, rudimentary robot unable to move on its own, depending on the kindness of passersby to help it along its journey. Until it met an untimely end. Trust is a two-way street, and because robots are not powered by their own moral code, they rely on humans to supply both empathy and support. Dr. Frauke Zeller shares HitchBOT’s origin story. Eli Schwartz recounts his heartbreak upon learning what happened in Philadelphia. Dr. Julie Carpenter analyzes why it all went down. And Georgia Guthrie epitomizes the outpouring of sympathy that followed. Together, they tell a layered story about humans, and how we respond to robots. With HitchBOT, we find a little hope in the shadow of its demise. If you want to read up on some of our research on robot-human interaction, you can check our all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
23 minutes | Nov 2, 2021
Robot as Body
For years, prosthetic technology focused on form over function, on masking lost limbs, rather than agency and usability. But things are changing. Innovations in robotics are giving more people more options, with lower thresholds of entry—and lower price tags, too. Tilly Lockey takes us through her journey with prosthetic arms. Brian Schulz gives some history of mechanical prosthetics, and what it means for people to reach embodiment with their devices. Tyler Hayes talks about the software that made advancements in assistive technology possible. Charlie Kemp discusses his work building universal robot interfaces, and how they can benefit everyone. And Henry and Jane Evans explain how robots can help a person reach beyond their body’s limitations. If you want to read up on some of our research on robotic prosthetics, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
22 minutes | Oct 26, 2021
From Compiler: Do We Want A World Without Technical Debt?
Who says tech talk has to be boring? On Compiler, we dig into tech topics big, small, and strange. We talk to people who know the code, and bring their perspectives back to you. Intrigued? Here's a preview episode. Software development teams often reach a crossroads. Should they perform maintenance and address bug issues, or add new features to satisfy users? The former isn’t as exciting, but sometimes the most important work is invisible to those who reap the benefits. For now, the project has been released, and everyone wants to celebrate. But there’s an elephant in the room, one that teams can ignore—at least, for a while. In this episode of Compiler, we unpack the concept of technical debt, and wonder if there is a world where it doesn’t exist.
23 minutes | Oct 19, 2021
Robot as Humanoid
It’s hard enough to make a functional, reliable robot. Many people also want to make those robots in our image. That’s a tough needle to thread. Often, the most efficient design isn’t the most human-like one. But that isn’t stopping us from reaching for those humanoid robots. Professor Shigeki Sugano argues in favor of creating human-shaped robots. But it’s such an enduring challenge, we’ve come up with a name for it: the uncanny valley. Evan Ackerman walks us through the uncanny valley’s treacherous terrain. Deanna Dezern shares how she’s connected to her robot companion. And Dor Skuler explains how he deliberately avoided making his robots look like humans. If you want to read up on some of our research on humanoid robots, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
25 minutes | Oct 5, 2021
Robot as Maker
One of the first functional robots appeared on TV in 1966. That’s earlier than some of us expect. The Unimate’s televised premiere sparked the world’s imagination. It represented a host of possibilities. Those possibilities, however, also implied a coming competition that would last for decades. Dag Spicer tells the story of the Unimate, the first industrial robot—and how little the American public trusted it. But that distrust wasn’t universal. Tomonori Sanada explains how the Unimate was received very differently in Japan. Joe Campbell describes the dangers of working alongside industrial robots. But he’s working to change that with cobots. And Paul Shoup shares how his company, employees, and customers are benefiting from cobots. If you want to read up on some of our research on industrial robots, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
23 minutes | Sep 21, 2021
Robot as Software
Building a physical robot isn’t cheap—even when it’s the final version. Designing a robot and testing it over and over again? That takes a lot of tries. And likely more than a few failures on the way to success. Luckily, simulation software is reducing the scrap heap—and bringing down the costs of building robots from the ground up. Kevin Knoedler shares how simulation software allows him to program and design robots from home. And even though he doesn’t have the budget or support of major research institutions like DARPA, his robots still end up winning major competitions. Evan Ackerman points out that winning those competitions takes a lot of skills. But amateurs have more ways than ever to get started with robotics. Louise Poubel explains how much time, energy, and money is saved with robot simulation software—and how it’s not just for the amateurs. And Dr. Timothy Chung reveals how competitions like the DARPA Subterranean Challenge encourage innovators to advance the field of robotics. If you want to read up on some of our research on robot simulation, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. And follow along with the episode transcript.
25 minutes | Sep 7, 2021
Robot as Servant
The 1980s promised robotic servants were in reach. They’d clean up our houses. Bring us drinks. Usher in an era of leisure. We didn’t get robot butlers. But if we look around, we’ll find an army of robotic servants already automating away domestic drudgery. Richard Rowland recounts the extent to which Androbot over-promised on its ability to build a robot servant. 40 years later, we still don’t have robot maids. Monroe Kennedy III walks us through the complexities of seemingly simple tasks. To make things more difficult, each attempt to build a robot had to build the hardware AND write the code from scratch. Keenan Wyrobek explains that’s why he helped write and share the Robot Operating System (ROS). Leila Takayama describes how beneficial ROS was to the field of robotics. And Terry Fong shares how NASA is using ROS to build the robots that explore our solar system. If you want to read up on some of our research on domestic robots, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Follow along with the episode transcript.
2 minutes | Aug 24, 2021
Command Line Heroes Season 8: Broadcasting the Robot Revolution
Robots have a special place in our imaginations. Writers, artists, directors, and more have shown how robots can change our world—for better or far, far worse. In the real world, robots seem a long way off. But are they? Season 8 of Command Line Heroes is all about the rise of the robots. They just may not be what you expect. We meet the first industrial robot, take a journey through the uncanny valley, and investigate a possible robot crime. Season 8 covers the robots that are in our midst—and the determined dreamers who bring them to life. The first episode drops September 7, 2021. Follow today and sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates.
23 minutes | Jun 29, 2021
After the Bubble
The Y2K bug generated a lot of fear, but all that hype fizzled when the new millennium didn’t start with a digital apocalypse. It turns out that fear was just aimed at the wrong catastrophe. While plenty were riding high on the rise of the internet beyond the Y2K scare, another disaster had been brewing since 1995—and would bring them back down. But the dot-com bubble wasn’t the end. The internet was here to stay. Not long after the turn of the millennium, the dot-com economy collapsed. Peter Relan points to the flawed business plans that fueled the dot-com bubble, and how many entrepreneurs and investors underestimated the complexity of building a business on the internet. Ernie Smith tells the story of Pets.com, and how a similar idea a decade later had a much better chance of succeeding. Gennaro Coufano reveals the element of luck that saved Amazon from going under —and how it evolved in the aftermath. Julia Furlan reflects on the changes the dot-com bubble brought, and what’s left to consider. And Brian McCullough describes how the dot-com bubble paved the way for a more resilient digital economy. If you want to read up on some of our research on the dot-com bubble, you can check out all our bonus material over at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. The page is built in the style of 1995—check it out.Follow along with the episode transcript.