UGN Security

College virus-writing course under attack

Posted By: pergesu

College virus-writing course under attack - 05/30/03 05:55 AM

The University of Calgary is planning on having a course that teaches students how to write viruses, in attempt to get them to understand the mentality of virus writers, as well as techniques for stopping viruses. It's very controversial, however, and it's being criticized by numerous people, including an antivirus corporation, and a professor who taught a similar class at another university.
Posted By: Infinite

Re: College virus-writing course under attack - 05/30/03 06:25 AM

I live and attend post secondary in Calgary. All I gotta say is 'WTF do I find me a transfer program!!!'.

I think that is a fantastic idea. Virii are normally a malicious type of thing, but what if it weasn't? The methodology behind virus writing can conceivably be used to combat malicious virii, as well as do many beneficial things. For example, what if you were to create a virus-like program that 's purpose was to seek out malicious virii and destry them, similliar to the way your body's natural defenses wipe out real viruses? Bringing these tools to the IT security field could potentially benefit everyone.

However, having said that, a course of this nature needs to have some radical safeguards in effect. The virii lab is said to be on its own self-contained network, and student will not be allowed to remove any sort of media from the lab that could possibly contain their "creations" on them. I think that on top of those measure some sort of character check should be implemented. There needs to be some way to screen potential students for their intents with this kind of knowledge. Something of this nature demands the proper precautions be taken.

Posted By: ObiWan

Re: College virus-writing course under attack - 05/30/03 04:32 PM

I agree with Infinite, while it is a wonderful idea, there are some potential security issues. I think it should be reserved for upper level CS majors, hopefully that would eliminate much of the common people who want to learn it for the wrong reasons. Besides, by that time in a person’s education I would hope that they would have a sense of maturity. An understanding of the material would be good, and hopefully not be taken the wrong way.

The name of the article is “Enlisting the Young as White-Hat Hackers” appeared in the New York Times Circuits section on May 29, 2003. The article speaks about a free program for high school students, where the instructor brings them in and teaches them how to be a White-Hat hacker. It is free; it does not deal with the high school the students attend, so the student’s grades do not matter. Many of the students have been in trouble for what they say “could be considered hacking.” It goes on to say that if the students are already Black-Hat there is little that can be done to change that.

I think this idea is wonderful as well; if these students already have an understanding of hacking, then by all means teach them more.
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