Posted by Virus Bulletin on Jun 1, 2003
University course teaches students to write malware.
The University of Calgary has announced very proudly on its website that a new undergraduate course will 'focus on developing malicious software such as computer viruses, worms and Trojan horses that are known to wreak havoc to the tune of billions of dollars worldwide on an annual basis'.
Members of the AV industry repeatedly assert the importance of education when it comes to secure computing, a course that focuses on developing malware can only be an extreme case of barking up the very wrong tree. Dr John Aycock, professor for the course, disagrees. He believes that 'a necessary step in stopping viruses is that the computer professional could also write one so [the course uses] the "writing" of computer viruses as a teaching method. '
While busily learning how to compile their own malicious code, undergraduates on the course will also study 'legal and ethical issues' - VB is intrigued as to what students learn on this part of the course. The University claims that 'this course is just one more way [in which] the ... University of Calgary is helping develop students' skills as they become the leaders of tomorrow.'
The AV industry had better brace itself if we are to expect a future in which virus writers are the leaders of tomorrow.
Since the announcement of the course a public letter signed by concerned members of the AV community has been posted on the AVIEN website.