When /bin/sh Attacks: Revisiting "Automate All the Things"

Tuesday, December 08, 2020 - 10:00 am10:40 am

J. Paul Reed, Netflix


One of the core tenets of both modern SRE and DevOps professional practices is "Automate all the things!"

But are there processes we shouldn't automate? And what if HOW we automate actively causes us and the systems we're responsible for harm? We'll take a look at what human factors have to do with automation as well as at some of the impacts and challenges pervasive automation has presented for system administrators and SREs, along with some important considerations when automating our complex, living socio-technical systems, and some strategies to cope when the shell scripts strike back!

J. Paul Reed, Netflix

J. Paul Reed began his career in the trenches as a build/release and operations engineer. After launching a successful consulting firm, he now spends his days as a Senior Applied Resilience Engineer on Netflix's Critical Operations & Reliability Engineering (CORE) team, focusing on incident analysis, systemic risk identification and mitigation, applied Resilience Engineering, and human factors expressed in the streaming leader's various sociotechnical systems.

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@inproceedings {262247,
author = {J. Paul Reed},
title = {When /bin/sh Attacks: Revisiting "Automate All the Things"},
booktitle = {SREcon20 Americas (SREcon20 Americas)},
year = {2020},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/srecon20americas/presentation/reed},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = dec,

Presentation Video