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A Short Course on Computer Viruses

Fred Cohen
ASP Press
ISBN 1-878109-01-4

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It is rare in the computer world to find someone both technically and verbally adept. It is even rarer to find yourself laughing out loud when reading a computer text. Fred Cohen is not only a pioneer in the field of virus research, but also a superb storyteller. Cohen provides an engaging account of viruses, his early experiments, and his struggle to convince security experts that viruses are a real threat. In one of his most memorable anecdotes, Cohen describes a visit to a security trade show where - to the dismay of the experts - he swiftly demonstrates how even the lowest level employee has the ability to breach the system's defenses. As an expert in the field, he is often given credit for coining the term "computer virus." In fact, his famous 1984 paper brought about the first real interest in viruses from both researchers - and unfortunately - virus creators. A Short Course on Computer Viruses is largely theoretical in nature, and while Cohen does not discuss the commercial anti-virus packages, he does explain how they work and what their limitations are.

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