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Wednesday, July 29 • 4:45pm - 6:00pm
Thomas Ptacek, David Goldsmith & Jeremy Rauch: Hacking Capitalism '09

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Place an order for a stock on a retail brokerage, and you've set off a long chain of events across a broad, proprietary network of systems running at most financial institutions around the world. Orders are created, tagged, and stored in multiple databases. Messages are created in middleware stacks, funneled through order routing systems, and stored in persistence layers backed by everything from embedded databases to Oracle servers. Traders at firms large and small join in as the other side of the order, working from proprietary Windows trading dashboards, web applications, and magical excel spreadsheets. Sub-second latencies matter, so parts of this patchwork quilt are written in C, and virtually none of it is encrypted.
Our talk is a guided tour through the systems and protocols used to transact this business; a parallel Internet that routes money and contracts instead of porn and MP3s. We'll describe patterns of vulnerabilities we've uncovered, explain poorly-understood trading protocols and middleware stacks and describe the all-important interactions between these components where subtle vulnerabilities crop up.

Wednesday July 29, 2009 4:45pm - 6:00pm
Augustus Ballroom 5-6

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