Cute title: Actual title
March 7, 2014  

I once wrote a paper with Andrew Appel called “Making Lambda Calculus Smaller, Faster.” It was about how to implement fast compiler optimizations that reduce the size of programs (written in the lambda calculus). A great title, we thought; but the editor did not agree, hence we are stuck with Shrinking lambda expressions in linear time.

This was one of my first encounters with the gatekeepers of academic research, and it perfectly illustrates my chief complaint with the system: the gatekeepers have absolutely no taste.

As proof, I’d like to condemn the sort of article titles that the gatekeepers do find acceptable:

  • Hunting the Red Fox Online: Understanding and Detection of Mass Redirect-Script Injections
  • All Your Screens Are Belong to Us: Attacks Exploiting the HTML5 Screen Sharing API
  • Chip and Skim: Cloning EMV Cards with the Pre-Play Attack
  • When HTTPS Meets CDN: A Case of Authentication in Delegated Service
  • Triple Handshakes and Cookie Cutters: Breaking and Fixing Authentication over TLS
  • Everything You Wanted To Know About SSL/TLS Implementations But Didn’t Know How To Ask: Using Frankencerts for Automated Adversarial Testing of SSL/TLS Implementations
  • Hidden GEMs: Automated Discovery of Access Control Vulnerabilities in Graphical User Interfaces
  • Doppelgänger Finder: Taking Stylometry To The Underground
  • Dancing with Giants: Wimpy Kernels for On-demand Isolated I/O on Commodity Platforms
  • Upgrading Your Android, Elevating My Malware: Privilege Escalation Through Mobile OS Updating
  • Cloak and Swagger: Understanding Data Sensitivity Through the Lens of User Anonymity
  • Out Of Control: Overcoming Control-Flow Integrity

These are all examples of the “cute title: actual title” meme, or its more rare, but equally despicable variant, the “actual title: cute title” meme. And all of these are from just one conference, the upcoming IEEE Security and Privacy!

Fellow security researchers, I beg you: STAAAAAAAHHHHHP.