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Should We Teach Virus Writing?

Vesselin Bontchev
6th Association of anti Virus Asia Researchers Conference (AVAR 2003), 2003. 15pp.

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In late spring 2003, Prof. Ken Barker, head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Calgary decided that, as part of a set of courses on Computer Security, his students had to be taught how to write viruses. He even went as far as widely advertising this idea of his on the Web and seems firmly convinced to implement it, despite the uniformly negative feedback he has received from the professionals in this field. This paper examines in details everything that is wrong with the particular proposal, as well as with the general idea of teaching students how to write viruses and other malicious code. Finally, we propose some ideas how to educate students properly on this subject.

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