Secure Languages

Exploration of new secure language concepts and secure abstractions that can be applied in future languages to prevent vulnerabilities in code written in those languages.

Project Details

Secure Languages

Secure Languages

Exploration of new secure language concepts and secure abstractions that can be applied in future languages to prevent vulnerabilities in code written in those languages.

Project Overview

Today’s languages do not support our developers in writing secure code for the most common types of vulnerabilities, such as buffer errors, injection attacks, and information leaks. We are exploring secure language concepts and secure abstractions that can be applied in future languages to prevent these vulnerabilities. 

Key challenge

The secure language concepts we are exploring need to extend the boundaries across different languages used in cloud applications, as well as extend into the databases used by such applications.

How we meet that challenge

Why not introduce secure language concepts into a multi-lingual, database-backed, memory-safe runtime, while at the same time improve compiler information flow tracking? We are starting to work on enhanced compiler and runtime to support security abstractions in these runtime conditions while we keep track of interoperability across the multiple languages.

Principal Investigator

Cristina Cifuentes

Senior Director of Research & Development, Oracle Labs Australia

Cristina is a Senior Director of R&D.  As Director of the global Oracle Software Assurance organisation, our mission is to make application security and software assurance, at scale, a reality. We enjoy working with today's complex enterprise systems composed of millions of lines of code, variety of languages, established and new technologies, to detect vulnerabilities and attack vectors before others do. Automation is important, so are security assessments.

Cristina was the founding Director of Oracle Labs Australia in 2010, a team she led for close to 12 years.  As Director of Oracle Labs Australia, I led a team of world-class Researchers and Engineers whose passion lies in solving the big issues in Program Analysis. Our team specialises in software vulnerability detection and developer productivity enhancement – in the context of real-world, commercial applications that contain millions of lines of code.  My team successfully released Oracle Parfait, a static analysis tool used by thousands of C/C++/Java developers each day. Our inventions have resulted in dozens of US patents at Oracle and Sun Microsystems, and our impact on program analysis is well known through our active participation and publication record.

Cristina’s passion for tackling the big issues in the field of Program Analysis began with her doctoral work in binary decompilation at the Queensland University of Technology, which led to her being named the Mother of Decompilation for her contributions to this domain. In an interview with Richard Morris for Geek of the Week, Cristina talks about Parfait, Walkabout and her career journey in this field.

Before she joined Oracle and Sun Microsystems, Cristina held academic posts at major Australian Universities, co-edited Going Digital, a landmark book on Cybersecurity, and served on the executive committees of ACM SIGPLAN and IEEE Reverse Engineering.

Cristina continues to play an active role in the international programming language and software security communities. Where possible, she channels her interests into mentoring young programmers through the CoderDojo network and mentoring females in STEM. 

Personal Career Highlights

Mentor at CoderDojo Brisbane
Adjunct Professor, School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, The University of Queensland
Adjunct Professor, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Queensland University of Technology
Chancellor's Outstanding Alumnus (2001), Queensland University of Technology
PhD in Computer Science, "Decompilation of Binary Programs" (1994), Queensland University of Technology


 View Dr Cristina Cifuentes's profile

Publications