Steve Bellovin retires (security and networking, Columbia prof, ex-Bell Labs)

From his blog:

I’m in the process of retiring, and although I will not be settling back in my rocking chair—I have lots of writing I want to do—I’m no longer teaching.

On April 30, I gave a farewell talk. If you’re interested, the video is here and the slides are here. (And you can always find both on my “Talks” web page.)

Much of interest in the talk relating to computer history. Here’s a map of Usenet:

Several anecdotes and recollections on his student days including some pranks (or hacks).

I was an undergrad at Columbia College at a time when there was no CS major
• I made up my own major—effectively CS—and had it approved by the
Committee on Instruction

and

By the time I graduated, I knew many languages: FORTRAN (II and IV), PL/I, APL, BASIC, ALGOL 60, SNOBOL 4, IBM 1130 and IBM 360 assembler (and the macro language for S/360 assembler, itself a powerful language), PL360
• None of these are particularly useful today…

His first paper at Bell features in a retrospective:
A Look Back at “Security Problems in the TCP/IP Protocol Suite”

Over on the Fediverse he comments:

One thing I realized I forgot to mention in my talk: the importance of chance, but also how chance favors the prepared mind. The Miller paper falls into that category.

Turns out he wrote two papers on Frank Miller’s 1882 invention of the one-time pad:
In 2011 “The invention of the one-time pad is generally credited to Gilbert S. Vernam and Joseph O. Mauborgne. We show that it was invented about 35 years earlier by a Sacramento banker named Frank Miller. We identify which Frank Miller it was, and speculate on what might have led him to his idea. We also discuss whether or not Mauborgne might have known of Miller’s work, especially via his colleague Parker Hitt.”
In 2016 “New information has been discovered about Frank Miller’s 1882 one-time pad. These documents explain Miller’s threat model and show that he had a reasonably deep understanding of the problem; they also suggest that his scheme was used more than had been supposed.”

I’ve one of his books, perhaps the obvious one:
Firewalls and Internet Security: Repelling the Wily Hacker

Here’s the origin story:

On the train to Baltimore for Usenix Security in 1993, I ended up in the same car as Bill Cheswick
• We started talking about a book on Internet security—there were none at the time—and we planned a collection-of-papers book
• Soon after the conference, John Wait, an editor at Addison-Wesley, stopped by for his usual annual visit: After some chit-chat: “Do you want to write a book, Steve?”

2 Likes