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Thread: Viruses 101

  1. #1
    Senior Member cwk9's Avatar
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    Feb 2002

    Viruses 101

    the source: http://www.canada.com/edmonton/edmon...F-2166BBC6D181

    Viruses 101: U of C to teach secrets of cybercrime

    CanWest News Service

    Monday, May 19, 2003

    CALGARY - Developing malicious software -- viruses, worms and Trojan horses -- will soon be part of the program for 16 students at the University of Calgary.

    The aim is to delve into the cybercrime mind to understand a problem that causes billions of dollars in damage annually worldwide, says Dan Seneker, with the university's department of computer science.

    "It's the first of its kind in Canada," said Seneker, co-ordinator of community relations.

    As well as developing their own versions of the I LOVE YOU virus and the BUGBEAR worm, students will study legal, ethical and security issues in the "computer viruses and malware" course.

    "It's kind of a touchy subject if the world is losing trillions of dollars a year because of lockdown time or whatever, to say 'Hey, we're going to teach the students how to create new viruses,' " Seneker said.

    The intent of the program, devised and to be taught by Dr. John Aycock, is to be proactive in helping industry develop more secure software. Aycock could not be reached for comment.

    Computer hacking and viruses took a $1.6-trillion US toll on the world economy in 2000, says a survey by Information Week and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

    Experts say there are now about 80,000 viruses in cyberspace.

    Between 600 and 700 new ones are discovered monthly.

    "In order for people in medicine to try to discover a cure for viruses they don't try and discover a cure right away," Seneker said.

    "They learn more about the viruses in the first place -- how it mutates, how it's caused.

    "That's the approach Dr. Aycock has taken in saying instead of trying to invent all these security features let's learn more about these actual viruses ... and then from there work on security measures."

    The course is open to 16 fourth-year students who must work under strict conditions in a secure lab cut off from Internet and cell- phones.

    Other security measures to thwart students who may have malicious intent are in the works.

    Cybercriminals have become more sophisticated.

    "The first official virus was in 1986 that someone was able to trace back to the perpetrators, which were two brothers in Pakistan," Seneker said.

    They were easily traced because they embedded their names and address in a virus.

    "Nowadays you don't do that because you'll get thrown in jail or the FBI takes you away to their secret laboratory," Seneker said.

    "There's always these rumours that when the FBI or CIA find these people that are wreaking havoc with viruses, that they take them to their secret labs and try to turn them into the good guys so that they know how to defeat others.

    "For the most part, the guilty are thrill-seekers.

    "There's a growing threat of the actual cyberterrorism.

    "But they say that only 0.9 per cent, less than one per cent, of the actual cybercriminals out there have the capability or the know-how or the malicious intent to take it one step further."

    Calgary Herald
    © Copyright 2003 Edmonton Journal
    Sounds like fun. Some people have issues with teaching people how to progarm virus but theres always that question that how do you get a good under standing of virus with out being able to program one your self.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2003
    That's interesting. I do think it's important to have a good understanding about malicious software. I do have to wonder how many new viruses will be coming out of that class.

  3. #3
    Now, RFC Compliant! Noia's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    I don't think it will be effective..since they will the taught how to do it, they won't come up with new methods of doing things, and thus, the viruses and worms would be piced up pretty rapidly.

    - Noia
    With all the subtlety of an artillery barrage / Follow blindly, for the true path is sketchy at best. .:Bring OS X to x86!:.
    Og ingen kan minnast dei linne drag i dronningas andlet den fagre dag Då landet her kvilte i heilag fred og alle hadde kjærleik å elske med.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Most virus's listed however are just simple changes to a different virus, or practically the same thing
    The Hack Back Revolution

  5. #5
    Senior Member cwk9's Avatar
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    Feb 2002
    Here one person who thinks its a bad idea. He has a point that it might not be the most useful course in the world but then again colleges and university's are full of useless courses. Any one who has ever had to take Organizational behavior probably knows this first hand. I'm not so sure what the big deal is, most computer science students are capable of learning about virus on there own if they wanted to.

    University course for virus-writing is irresponsible, says Sophos

    University course for virus-writing is irresponsible, says Sophos Sophos has reacted with surprise and disappointment to the news that the University of Calgary in Canada is offering its students a course in malicious virus-writing. The course, titled "Computer Viruses and Malware" which is due to commence in the autumn of this year, is described by university literature as focusing 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 world-wide on an annual basis." The course professor, Dr. John Aycock, is said to have convinced the University authorities to allow virus writing to be part of the course in the belief that it will lead to a greater understanding of how to stop viruses. "Should we teach kids how to break into cars if they're interested in becoming a policeman one day? It is simply not necessary to write new viruses to understand how they work and how they can be prevented," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus.

    "Sadly it seems the university is developing courses according to what it believes will be most attractive to potential students rather than focusing on skills that will be useful to them in the security industry. One wonders if the University will be held legally and financially responsible if any of the viruses written on their course break out and infect innocent computer users." Sophos points out that none of the researchers working in its labs write malicious code, as there is no need to do this to achieve a better understanding of how to defeat viruses. "On its website the University of Calgary has tried to draw a comparison with methods being used to try and combat SARS virus. But scientists don't actually create new biological viruses in order to find cures," continued Cluley. "Instead they do what we do - careful examination of new threats and a thorough understanding and analysis of the many threats which already exist. Creating new viruses is of no benefit at all, but could lead to greater danger."

  6. #6
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    Aug 2001
    heh... I can learn anything on my own with the right books... school is useless... heh...
    Double Dutch

  7. #7
    Junior Member
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    May 2003
    With this is mind I have to wonder, what I am going to miss in future Criminal Justice courses. I recently obtained my BS in CJ and going for my masters. I ponder aloud the thought of having to shoot a living thing, to better understand how it works from the shooters perspective. Perhaps, If one was to shoot someone for the benefit of education they could learn how such people think, or why they do such things? I say this is rediculous, and the professor needs his computer taken away. Seems maybe he is an eager child, trying to accomplish something he cannot (create a virus). Thus, he has a class full of eager peers willing to do his deed for him in the name of education and protected by sentences like "The course is open to 16 fourth-year students who must work under strict conditions in a secure lab cut off from Internet and cell- phones."

    Just a thought...
    -Mens Rea
    Forensic Analyst

  8. #8
    AO Part Timer
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Upon the completion of school, you should be of right mind and have an ability to display a solid thought process. The problem is most schools don't teach you how to think anymore, they teach you what to think. They line you up, charge you tens of thousands of dollars for a phreakin piece of paper. Then society bars us from hacking an xbox for example. This class is a prime example of stepping up and allowing students to think for them selves. How are we supposed to discover new designs if we do not explore what we have. How are we to fix the broken, with out being able to peer over the shoulders of our founding minds.

    Computer hacking and viruses took a $1.6-trillion US toll on the world economy in 2000, says a survey by Information Week and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
    You continue to build things based upon a set of predetermined rules and regulations, yet you wonder why they are so easily broken. Once again you can't have an article that doesn't display a figure in dollars. How the hell do you lose 1.6 trillion dollars. Because you don't allow your people free thought. I blame you, for not educating a mind, you expect them to be smart yet you never teach them anything. This class in my opinion will educate the norm, and have a very postitive impact. It will proably take a mind into the dark, and show it the light. But, you have this in everything you do.
    Your heart was talking, not your mind.
    -Tiger Shark

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