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Canadian University to Begin Training Hackers

CowboyNeal posted more than 11 years ago | from the learning-from-the-other-side dept.

Security 379

torok writes "According to an article at The Edmonton Journal, The University of Calgary is going to start teaching select computer science students to write software viruses in a special new disconnected lab. Will Canada be accused of training the world's next generation of cyber-terrorists... or peacekeepers?"

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1st again (-1, Offtopic)

tytanic11 (614029) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020199)

first post. penguins rule.

AWWWW YEAH HAY DOOD L@@K HERE (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020201)

WHO LET THE H4X0RS OUT?
l33t,l337,l33t,1337

WHO LET THE H4X0RS OUT?
l33t,l337,l33t,1337

WHO LET THE H4X0RS OUT?
l33t,l337,l33t,1337

WHO LET THE H4X0RS OUT?
l33t,l337,l33t,1337

WHO LET THE H4X0RS OUT?
l33t,l337,l33t,1337

Fuck you all (-1)

(TK3)Dessimat0r (669834) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020205)

Cmdr. Taco fucks chidren
He enriches his sexual urge
He fucked a boy,
And with his arse destroyed,
He went to fuck his father.

Cmdr Taco has downs
He likes to piss and slobber
One day he went,
To the moon, he said,
and then he had a seisure.

Cmdr Taco likes mares
They say he gets some pleasure
He takes them from the other end
And now hes moved to men.

CLIT are a bunch of fags
The name suggests this fact
They group together, now and then
and fuck a load of men.

irc.freedomirc.net
#trollkore

Hacking ethics (4, Interesting)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020206)

I just read a good article on this too. Apparently, if we train hackers at a young age, we can control them, and get much more work done. Read the article at http://www.cs.berkley.edu/~bh/hackers.html

Re:Hacking ethics (5, Informative)

boredMDer (640516) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020237)

For those of you blindly following that link and getting 404's or similar, here's both the corrected version (Berkeley is spelled w/ 3 e's) and in link form -
http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~bh/hackers.html [berkeley.edu]

Re:Hacking ethics (3, Informative)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020278)

oopse, error on my notecards... thanks!

Re:Hacking ethics (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020352)

training hackers is an oxymoron

hackers are by definition self-educated

Re:Hacking ethics (1)

sunilrkarkera (233516) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020391)

Will they teach me to hack the Matrix?

Re:Hacking ethics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020433)

I wonder if this is how Ender's Game started...

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/081255070 6/ qid=1053652607/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/104-9558984-70551 53

Oh Great - more snort rulz to write.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020448)

As if I have no trouble keeping up with the latest M$ debuachle... Now I get even MORE snort Rulz to write....

They might be accused... (5, Interesting)

MattCohn.com (555899) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020208)

I'm sure they will be ACCUSED of it, but I think everyone here sees the real reason. How can you know how to secure your systems if you don't know what the virus writers are doing?

And I'm sure that a select number of people will use this information maliciously, but everything comes at a cost. I don't think it would be a good idea if no one but the 'bad guys' knew how to write a virus, because then no one but them would know how to keep their systems secure from them.

Re:They might be accused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020410)

>> In Soviet Russia, all your insensitive clod beowulf clusters are belong to YOU!

In the US, they teach you English before you start hacking

Re:They might be accused... (5, Insightful)

caouchouc (652238) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020443)

As a software engineer, I have to say that the perceived "skill" required to write a virus is blown way out of proportion.

There's nothing inherently special about a virus or a worm. They're actually very simple, and most malware writers today are not very talented. They produce bloated, barely functional software (scripts, for the most part today) that is only dangerous because the average user is so trusting. I remember when viruses were actually smaller than the files they infected...

Got coders in your firm? If they're capable of writing inter-operation layers for your apps or database frontends, then they're capable of writing viruses and worms far worse than bugbear. But chances are they don't, because it's a waste of time.

Those students don't need specialized virus-writing courses. A simple assembly course would put them lightyears ahead of the "bad guys" if they actually paid attention for once.

Good. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020210)

Now we have a reason to invade Canadia.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020211)

first post

Crackers (5, Informative)

ramzak2k (596734) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020212)

Crackers, not hackers.
I understand this is a losing battle but lets not get it wrong on slashdot.

Re:Crackers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020242)

8=======D --- there's a cock, grow one

Re:Crackers (1)

flatface (611167) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020258)

Excuse me if this is a stupid question.. But everyone says that these people are all crackers.. But who the Hell are hackers? Password guessing/forcing? Cracker. Exploit? Cracker. Trogan? Cracker.

Someone please enlighten me..

Re:Crackers (4, Funny)

PukkaStoryTeller (661614) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020276)

A thin crisp wafer or biscuit, usually made of unsweetened dough.

Re:Crackers (4, Informative)

ramzak2k (596734) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020292)

here you go, a nice explanation of the meaning :

http://www.grinberg.net/vitaliy/hacker.html [grinberg.net]

in short ,
hackers: just enthusiasts
crackers: evildoers

Re:Crackers (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020299)

A hacker is someone who is good at something (says my dictionary...) A cracker is dirty word for a white person :P

Re:Crackers (4, Informative)

PM4RK5 (265536) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020341)

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that "hacking" is the (lost?) art of taking apart, fiddling, and generally reverse engineering. The purpose of "hacking" was (is?) to educate oneself on the inner workings of a device. A common misconception would be that "hacking" was limited to computers. It is generally used in reference to technology, but it may be any digital (or analog for that matter) device. One could also stretch the meaning of "hacker" and apply it to fields such as automobiles - taking apart and "modding" your car could be considered "hacking."

Crackers (and cracking), on the other hand, are those who maliciously exploit hardware and software that is not their own, for personal gain, and sometimes just for the sake of having done it.

Did that help clarify the difference? Hackers are reverse-engineers who seek to educate themselves, without inflicting damage. The objective of a cracker, however, is damaging a system (in whatever way), and being able to claim responsibility for it, because they (and their clique) may consider it "cool" or "macho," or in some cases, because they can fraudulently benefit from it (usually economically...)

I hope that helps. If I'm wrong, someone please correct me.

P.S. The "cool" and "macho" part was added by me, but I can see no other motivation to do it.

Re:Crackers (1, Funny)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020383)

Cracker, Hackers, it is all relative...It depends on which side of the cell bars you are currently on.
Crackers you pay for, Hackers you get for free as a M$ like bonus feature to the WWW :)

Re:Crackers (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020314)

This battle (and the war for that matter) was lost long before slashdot came into being.

Re:Crackers (2, Informative)

McAddress (673660) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020342)

They are most certainly hackers, not crackers. They are learning about the knowledge in a safe lab, as not to cause accidental damage, for a useful non-malicious purpose. That is a lot better than many of the current experts on these issues.

Re:Crackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020360)

Fuck you, I ain't no cracker. What? you got a problem with white people?

Re:Crackers (1)

BrynM (217883) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020364)

I actually think the battle is lost. The word has changed meaning due to popular usage. I guess this is how the Spam people felt.

Err, no. (1)

oogoliegoogolie (635356) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020368)

Hackers do it for the fun, achievement, and knowledge. It is like a sport for them. They do not do it to cause harm.

In this instance since they are doing it for fun and the end result of their quest is knowledge, and don't indend on causing any harm or havok with their code, they are hackers and not crackers.

Re:Crackers (4, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020379)

losing battle

Lost, son. Circa 15 years ago. Woulda helped had we picked a word not already firmly ensconced in both the vernacular (thin biscuit) AND slang (narrow-minded Southern whitey) simultaneously. 'Cracker' never stood a chance; teenage cabals can *suggest* lanaguage, but it's up to the media to bless it and disseminate it.

Just let it go. As a geek patheticism, insisting on the use of the word "cracker" over "hacker" is starting to rank up there with wearing one's plastic Vulcan ears out in public.

Re:Crackers (2)

Kwiik (655591) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020380)

How did this get modded insightful? First of all, the true definition of a word goes by the general public, not by a random website quoted under a post. I think dictionary.com [dictionary.com] is a little more authoritive on the definition of a hacker than Olga Grinberg [grinberg.net] 's public space on the internet.

Sure, hackers are enthusiasts, however this also includes those who are enthusiastic about writing malicious code. Don't be lame and think that just because you don't agree with twelve year old script kiddies using the word you describe yourself with, it means it can't be true. Hacker is a universal term. Not all kernel hackers are evil, and I'm sure there's one or two that do not practice illegal hacking. Not all hackers that use malicious code to enter private systems are bad, either.

For those that don't want to follow the dictionary.com link above, a definition of hacker is as follows:

1. One who is proficient at using or programming a computer; a computer buff.
2. One who uses programming skills to gain illegal access to a computer network or file.
3. One who enthusiastically pursues a game or sport: a weekend tennis hacker.

Re:Crackers (1, Troll)

coupland (160334) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020419)

You are wrong, I was there when the terms hacking and cracking came to be and people seem to have forgotten it. Let me make this finally clear:

1. Hacking involves the intentional but usually casual compromise of computer systems. Recently it also includes general technical activity.

2. Cracking is the process of removing copy protection from commercial software. IT HAS NO OTHER MEANING.

3. Phreaking is the process of using illegal methods to make long distance calls.

Even though people have tried for a long time to redefine terms like "hacking", those of us in the know still remember what it means. A decade of redefinitions and wishful thinking will not change this...

Re:Crackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020446)

So kernel hackers should be arrested?

Re:Crackers (1)

coupland (160334) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020476)

Kernel hackers is a false term. Anyone who was there when the term "hackers" was invented knows that it refers to unauthorized entry to a computer system. Hacking does not mean to program, it means to circumvent security... Everyone who has told you otherwise has lied. People are trying to redefine a term after it was invented, programming is not hacking, period.

Re:Crackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020459)

Crackers, not hackers. I understand this is a losing battle but lets not get it wrong on slashdot.

Crackers are people who crack software copy protection, a tasty food to go with soup, or a slang insult for caucasians. Hackers are people who break into systems. Find another name geeks, Hackers == bad guys whether you like it or not. Just like niggers denotes a negative connotation to most people instead of being a casual greeting. i.e. "hey, what's up my niggers?" You ever fucking try that in a group of blacks when you're a white guy? Doesn't fucking work.

Just tools (3, Insightful)

IronBlade (60118) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020213)

The fact they are learning the hows of a skill does not mean they will use the skill maliciously.
In fact, when educated, most people will use their powers for good, not evil.. :)

Re:Just tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020225)

Yeah. Why don't you teach me how to quickly kill a person and show me how I can easily cover up my tracks.

Cut me off at rush hour, and you'll see if I use my powers for good.

Just like lawyers, eh? (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020403)

nt

Re:Just tools (3, Interesting)

TeknoDragon (17295) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020436)

yes... there are probably many schools in the US doing this...

In fact I took an Information Warfare class and one of the options for a final project was virus writing.

Re:Just tools (1)

Lust (14189) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020453)

Yes, when I was officially given root access at work I lost all interest of playing on the system. What's the fun in cycling your buddy's colormap when you could just abuse your official root access! There's no pride in that.

hey (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020219)

it's just like the school of the Americas where we train most of the anti-terrorist forces, but it's also the place where most terrorists come out of. If they don't have a problem with that school, the same rationale should be applied to this school.

Security experts and black hats (3, Interesting)

Jacer (574383) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020220)

You gain a certain understanding for certain things when you're "at the wrong end of a telnet session" A lot of that knoweldge can be used for protecting against the same exploits. If they're writing viruses, maybe instead of having a definition file for each virus that has to constantly be updated, they could author some detection scheme that monitors for activity that is like a virus, or certain function within the code that can be stopped much simpler than the current methods

Re:Security experts and black hats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020249)

You mean like heuristics? The kind of heuristics that are in every good anti-virus program available?

Re:Security experts and black hats (3, Insightful)

boredMDer (640516) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020267)

"they could author some detection scheme that monitors for activity that is like a virus"

Hueuristics, anyone? (Yes, I horribly butchered the spelling of that word, I know.)
Granted, that sort of technology is somewhat prone to false alarms, but we have it. We just need to work on improving detection techniques and and reducing/eliminating false positives..

I wonder... (4, Funny)

jarodss (243400) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020227)

will this be offered as an online course?

Re:I wonder... (4, Funny)

kurosawdust (654754) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020288)

Not anymore - the last time they tried that everyone got A+'s and six degrees apiece with full tuition reimbursements.

wait, wait, don't tell me... (4, Funny)

Triv (181010) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020228)

Will Canada be accused of training the world's next generation of cyber-terrorists... or peacekeepers?"

Oh! Oh! I Know! Is it...terrorists?

Triv

Not a big deal... (3, Informative)

BrynM (217883) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020235)

Universities have been studying this [google.com] informally for a long time. It's just finally been made official somewhere. Besides, we've been studing warfare [google.com] and weapon making [google.com] for a long time.

Pleased (4, Interesting)

ramzak2k (596734) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020240)

I am pleased at such a course and fail to understand why I it has not been taught in other universities so far. While someone could
argue that it is the wrong sort of training that could lead to rise of new generation of script kiddies, I would argue the other way round. There would be more people who would know exactly how these things are engineered & have greater understanding to build more secure systems with that understanding.

Fearful view of disseminating such information only feeds censorship. And we all know how well that works.

Terrorist training center in Canada (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020250)

close the borders! Canada has been found to be harbouring IT terrorists and thier weapons of mass destruction (Winblows XP). Prepare for invasion and removal of despotic government! Who cares if no one finds WMDs, America has been wanting Canada's vast quality beer reserves for some time now. Call General Franks and Beans!

Not just yet. (1)

ATAMAH (578546) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020251)

Canada will not be accused in anything...for now. But this will be written down and remembered when some sort of an incident happens, no doubt.

Training Hackers at a Uni...News@11... (1)

sepluv (641107) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020253)

Uhh..wait the word, hacking, originated at a uni. All the best software was hacked at unis. This is new how? (Oh maybe they mean crackers..oh no they don't maybe they mean virii creators..hmm)

Re:Training Hackers at a Uni...News@11... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020304)

oh my.. what a jest.. almost as humerous as the petty pathetic existence you surely lead

Re:Training Hackers at a Uni...News@11... (1)

sepluv (641107) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020426)

I know I shouldn't feed the trolls but...

My post was not meant to be humorous at all.

Crazy Canucks (0, Troll)

Pinkoir (666130) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020255)

Wow...first we're against war. Then we start talking about letting people smoke up. Now we're training hackers. We Canadians are some kind of wierd...we're like the bunch of hippies living next door.

-Pinkoir

Re:Crazy Canucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020516)

hehehehehehe... war, like, man... hehehe... ohmanigotthemunchies...

A good way to get rid of terrorists (-1)

(TK3)Dessimat0r (669834) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020256)

KILL ALL MUSLIMS!

O'Canada (0, Troll)

psyconaut (228947) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020263)

Well, I'm quite proud to be an (adopted) Canadian. I see this as just another way for us to poke the Nazi Americans...what with SARs, mad cow, and our threat to decriminalize pot...why shouldn't we just push the envelope a little more? ;-)

-psy

Re:O'Canada (5, Funny)

saforrest (184929) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020302)

Well, I'm quite proud to be an (adopted) Canadian. I see this as just another way for us to poke the Nazi Americans...what with SARs, mad cow, and our threat to decriminalize pot...why shouldn't we just push the envelope a little more? ;-)

We also maintain a threatening lead in Zamboni technology. [This borrowed from Canadian Bacon].

Re:O'Canada (1)

psyconaut (228947) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020357)

We're also some mean ass curlers ;-) (A nod to "Men with Brooms" which is what I watched not an hour ago).

-psy

Re:O'Canada (1)

tuxlove (316502) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020437)

We also maintain a threatening lead in Zamboni technology.

How can Canada possibly hold the lead in Zamboni technology? Zambonis are only made by the "Frank J. Zamboni Co.", which is a US company based in California. Any other ice resurfacing machine is just that - an ice resurfacing machine, not a Zamboni. Sounds like you have Zamboni envy.

Re:O'Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020303)

Guys, you are begging for a liberation. Uncle Sam is always willing to give a hand to its neighbors.

Resume (5, Funny)

phorm (591458) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020271)

But... somehow I have a problem seeing this net me a job on my resume:

Skills:
  • Virus Creation
  • System Cracking
  • Advanced infection techniques

Comment:
While I realize the above skills may not be entirely useful for the position described, I have noted that you do have an internet connection to your primary server via IP address 66.35.250.150. Would you like me to tell you your root password during an interview, or should I be ready work at 8:30am tomorrow?

Re:Resume (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020331)

It's spelled, "m4d ski11z" btw... :)

Re:Resume (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020394)

Uh, I don't know about the folks you work for, but in my experience this goes like:

Me: "I have noted that you do have an internet connection to your primary server via IP address 66.35.250.150. Would you like me to tell you your root password ?"

Them: "Oh really? Can you fix my Microsoft Explorer? It won't come up."

Me: "But, if I can get in, anyone else can too!"

Them: "That's okay, there's nothing important on my computer!"

Me: "But they could launch an attack on other computers, they could get personal information or sniff traffic"

Them: (laughs) "Look, I've a got a firewall, nobody can get in"

Me: "No that's just a file on your desktop titled 'firewall'.. it's just an empty text file! Don't you see the file I added under it titled 'HEY SHIT-FOR-BRAINS YOUR SHARES ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.txt'"????

Them: "Yeah, that Bill Gates sure thinks of everything! What a genius! Imagine what the world would be like without the MSN internet!"

etc.

Re:Resume (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020417)

You could get a job with the MPAA! :)

http://www.mpaa.org/anti-piracy/

Re:Resume (1)

hopbine (618442) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020425)

Don't laugh .. how many people out there have a job because of something similar!!!

Hmm (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020275)

I am dubious to the value of using a bunch of students for this project. Many virus writers etc seem to be highly motivated, determinded individuals hell bent on annoying the crap out of the rest of us. I cant see the students replicating this commitment

Re:Hmm (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020397)

Your right, college students are way too old for this level of motivation... the virus writers of yesterday were college students... to keep up with today's competition we should be teaching this in kindergarden.

Um, ok. (1)

methangel (191461) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020281)

Why not focus more on creating better programmers versus turning the the good ones to the dark side (of the language.)?

Virus writing was very easy last time I looked into how they were written and structured. What are the tools being used to create these 'viri'? My guess is Calgary has a site license for The Nowhere Man's Virus Creation Labratory software.

So l33t.

hype (3, Interesting)

DarkSkiesAhead (562955) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020284)


maybe it's just me, but this article has a rather tabloid-esque sensanionalist feel to it. where did they get the figure of $1.6-trillion of damage done by viruses? that's just not believable. then they quote unspecified "experts" and refer to vaguely conspiratorial theories of government-hired hackers in a "secret laboratory".

basically, they are printing a new course announcement and mixed it in with a bunch of hyped up BS in order to make it look like a real article.

Re:hype (5, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020323)

where did they get the figure of $1.6-trillion of damage done by viruses

I was out sick for 2 weeks a few months ago with a virus so that explains a lot but I'm dammed if I know where they got the other half trillion from.

Re:hype (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020363)

I think they count "Security Software" and companies like Symantec and Cisco Systems under this number, which greatly skews their numbers. Most great antivirus companies happen to be great computer repair companies and offer software that helps recover data from crashed hds, patches holes in operating systems, and otherwise keeps the computer clean. So yes, this number is greatly inflated, but getting a nice clean figure would be next to impossible otherwise.. plus it's good journalism to use big numbers, it attracts the eye and shocks the reader ;)

Believable (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020475)

I couldn't say if it is, but that sounds like a reasonable number... We had virii rip though the office about 4-5 times a year at my last job, and the whole network would be down for the better part of a working day. $25/hr * 8hrs * 80ppl = $16,000 in paying employees to hang out at the water cooler, not to mention the loss of business revenue. And that's just one medium-small business. If 100,000 similarly sized businesses had one day like that a year, there's your 1.6 trillion.

hacking for dummies (2, Interesting)

MrDelSarto (95771) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020308)

you know, I've been working through the idea of a "hacking 101" course for pre-university students. Think about the concepts to you need to understand how to write a "simple" stack overflow ; all about how programs execute, how system calls work, machine language, probably network programming. Let alone the actual C and ASM hackery skills. More advanced hacks like infecting dynamic libraries etc require even more knowledge. By the end of it, you'd come out at least knowing if you liked computer science. I wish someone had done this for me when I was 16 or 17. Take the class over a few weeks, introducing one concept a week and then have a go at writing that part of your exploit.

It has been suggested to me that I might as well just teach a basic operating systems class, but it doesn't have to same ring to it ...

Better Virii (1)

ralphart (70342) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020309)

Not as crazy as it sounds...In the early days of virus outbreaks, it seems as often as not the problem was not so much the payload as it was poorly written code causing it to behave in an unanticipated way.

Mind you this was not always the issue...sometimes the poorly written code of a virus is what keeps it from running rampant.

Viral delivery, with a beneficial payload (it IS possible) could be a useful thing.

At the very least, maybe we'd see more efficient code with all those Outlook email floods!

Don't overreact (4, Insightful)

Mossfoot (310128) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020318)

After all, by studying how viruses are made, you can better understand them and thus make better anti-virus software. The kids going here are not going because they want to learn to be L33T cyber hackers or whatever, but knowing the tools of the trade (white and black hat) will help them in the computer programing/protection field.

Programming viruses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020328)

Prerequisite: reverse engineering software from a monopoly

canada... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020329)

...doesn't count! stupid mooseheads!

Re:canada... (1)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020440)

> stupid mooseheads!

Mmmm. Moosehead [moosehead.com] .

last years l33t (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020335)

You have to consider any methods of writing virus being taught at a university are without a doubt outdated and easily detected... Any who are able to take this information and progress it into a difficult to counter virus is intelligent enough that with that as their agenda they would have learned on their own anyway.

at some colleges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020340)

they actually teach people how the human body works, under the guise that they will "heal" people or at least "diagnose" what's wrong with them.

Yah, RIGHT. If you tell these murders that a certain body part is crucial to life, the first thing they'll do is cut it right out, because people are basically EVIL.

Similarly, anyone who knows how computers work is a cyberterrorist. Canadians are FRENCH! Did we forget what happened on 9/11?

Oh dear (1)

kupo zero (581452) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020348)

I can see this getting way out of hand very quickly. Everytime some new virus hits inboxes across the world, this kind of class would become the easy scapegoat. While teaching them how to make viruses may be in good faith and in fact it is probably quite interesting, the rammifications are just to big for this class to be a success. Who knows, maybe we'll the the "I Love Hockey" virus out of it.

peacekeepers (3, Insightful)

tarzan353 (246515) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020358)

No matter what path they choose, whether to be malicious hackers or peacekeeping notify-devs-before-it-gets-noticed types, the end result will be the same: better code.

Now if only we can get MS to believe what us open source folks have been saying for years!

What if this were bio instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020359)

There seem to be alot of positive posts about this.
Fair enough, but would you still be for this if it were a bio program instead of a CS class?
Should we be having students create killer bacteria in order to see how terrorists might do that?

Karma whoring -- Text from site (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020372)

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U of "C" doesn't teach "C" (3, Interesting)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020373)

I live within walking distance of this university and I am a professional developer and have been for a number of years. Last fall I contacted their IT people and asked if they have any courses on C++ cross platform development. (Rightly or wrongly I elected to use wxWindows and C/C++ from now on - but I still ahve a lot of legacy code of course).

I was suprised at the raw nerve I seemed to have hit with the prof I was speaking to because she became somewhat defensive.

My position is that if we for instance go to sourceforge and check the projects that we will find that C/C++ is perhaps the most popular language for these projects. If I look at my development requirements my conclusion is that C/C++ is THE ONLY viable languge I would even consider using! In my career I have programmed on over 13 platforms and I have used over 13 languages - many of which are now obsolete. I don't think I am biased towards C/C++ or say biased away from say Java. I have my career and at this point in my life I am managing it! I encourge all other programmers to do likewise. What this means is that for me - if a client asks me to program in VB, Java, etc. my answer is that I will NOT take on the job.

Given my strong feelings that C/C++ will be here for the foreseeable future - I find it totally ironic that the U of "C" doesn't even teach "C".

As such - I consider them rather irrelevant.

Furthermore as it turns out I was at the OpenBSD hackathon BBQ last weekend and made the point of asking the hackers how much Java there is in OpenBSD. They laughed. When I asked about C++ they were a little more serious and consided that perhaps there is some somewhere.

So I commented to them that the Uof"C" doesn't teach "C" and was actually quite surpised to hear one chap pipe up that his company doesn't hire UofC IT grads.

I think this is a really sad testiment to the department actually. My opinion is that they have a strong Java / M$ bias and I think this is rather sad. Just MHO...

--------------

BTW - these comments should not be construed to critisize Ruby, Python, Perl, Bash, PHP etc. These langages all have their place and I use some of them. My comments are about the use of C/C++ for general purpose applications development where you might end up with 50,000+ lines of code.

Re:U of "C" doesn't teach "C" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020449)

I was suprised at the raw nerve I seemed to have hit with the prof I was speaking to because she became somewhat defensive.

Becker gets that way.

I earned an A in the last academic C course [cpsc231/233] there four years ago. That course is now Pascal and Java, which are real handy for introducing green students to the concept of programming a computer.

There is this [ucalgary.ca] , which overlaps somewhat with the former C course (and was introduced with the abolishment of the C course), but at about 4 times the price with no credit...

(anon because other faculty read /. too)

Re:U of "C" doesn't teach "C" (2, Insightful)

KrispyKringle (672903) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020455)

This is, in fact, the case at many universities. The U of P, birthplace of ENIAC, teaches (this may change soon, apparently) O'Caml (a branch of ML) in the first semester of intro to programming. Talk about useless, perhaps, but the idea is not to teach just technical proficiency (something easily learned at a local community college) but to teach theory. O'Caml teaches recursion and functional programming well, and levels the playing field for those who have and have not had C/C++ in high school.

Incidentally, they then move to Java, although C is taught in Systems Engineering and used somewhat in later Computer Science courses.

The idea here is that anyone can learn any language fairly quickly. It takes a week or so to pick up a new OO language if one is proficient in theory; if one learns only how to use a certain language or API, though, he will have a much tougher time adjusting.

Certainly, this has some flaws, but the general approach is wholly valid. There is no reason to just teach the current programming lingua franca; standards change. Learning how to write something provided in the VB API or Java API may also seem silly, but its done for the same reason. CS courses here don't teach a specific language, they teach with a specific language. The language illustrates; it itself is not the objective.

Students who are taught just one specific skill and language can't see the forest for the trees. Students who can see the big picture can learn to deal with unfamiliar details.

Journalism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6020377)

Wow, they only lifted 80 per cent of the press release...

http://www.ucalgary.ca/news/may03/virus.html

young virus writers (1)

pigscanfly.ca (664381) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020381)

This is nothing particularly new where I come from . In ottawa a computer camp (Virtual Ventures) , which was run by carleton university students had a quasi course in virus writting for the attendees . While this new course is obviously much more indepth and would probably be of great interest to a computer science student . There are quite a few legitimate reasons to do this , firstly for antivirus people if we can have more "white hats" discovering new Microsoft "features" that allow "remote adminstration" or "security lockout override" we can hopefully develope better ways to protect against these problems. One of the few remaing growth industries in computers is in computer security currently .

One of the slightly less obvious benefits is these computer science students will know what its like to try and find "features" and will hopefully recognize more accidently "features" and take them out before they are exploited.

Joke (If you dont have a sense of humour do not read below this line):

As for everyone who is worried about canada being labelled a place for training cyber teriosist , dont worry most terrorist are educated in the united states and will continue to be we just want a small portion of those who cannot afford the high tution to us instituions [JK] .

Learning to be as resourceful as previous crackers (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020424)

From the article:

"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.

Or maybe this would be a course on how to avoid mistakes of the past...First lecture reminder: "DON'T write your names on the homework you turn in

Cyber Terrorism? Blame Canada! (2, Funny)

cms108 (96258) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020427)

sorry.

--
cHris

Huh? (1)

quantaman (517394) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020429)

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.


I can see the no internet connections, but no cell phones? I can't think of any viruses that travel over cell phone networks and I think it would be simple enough to ensure that they can't transfer anything to their cellphones so they can't email themselves programs. Also other than containing any viruses let loose in the lab I don't think you can do anything other than teach the students ethics so they don't let anything loose outside the lab. At the end of the day you have to count on responsible students, if you're teaching people you don't even trust with cellphones in the lab you're going to have serious problems.

Re:Huh? (1)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020495)

If the machines weren't properly locked down, a tiny USB Bluetooth adaptor could be attached to the computer, and the right cellphone could be used (while still in its owner's pocket or bag, out of sight) to establish an alternate internet connection and spread the virus that way.

Admittedly, you'd need some pretty inattentive instructors to not notice someone dicking around with the network settings on their machine, not to mention installing Bluetooth drivers-- but less likely things have happened.

~Philly

Oh great... (0, Funny)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020451)

You can now go to a major university to become a Skript Kiddie.

Practical reasons to teach viruses. (4, Interesting)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020461)

I think this is a good move, but not for reasons that someone (who would mod this Funny) might think.

One of the largest problems in the software business and the computer industry as a whole is an utter lack of knowledge. For some reason, I doubt that a field like, say, structural engineering would contain so many people who don't know jack. Buildings would collapse left and right. They don't, yet in computer jobs, there are hordes of people who make Windows applications by dragging shiny objects onto a pretty grid, fill in some properties, and call it programming. Lots of folks are taking computer science courses at the local community colleges, yet they don't seem "the type" to do this sort of work. (Indeed, I saw one girl studying at the local library... she was highlighting just about every sentence in a text about different types of loops, and she obviously wasn't "getting" it.) Why is this?

There are many programmers who "get by" by writing cheesy code (with as many holes in it as Swiss cheese). The problems caused by this lack of expertise are enormous. Billions of damages are caused to businesses every year because of computer failures. Many of those failures are due to bugs in software. Many are due to security problems. How can the problem be solved? Passing legislation that makes it illegal to discuss security problems won't solve the problem. There would be "underground" discussions of these things, and the crackers would freely share information that law abiding folks won't. Crackers will break into systems more easily than before the legislation and businesses will be slow to react, causing more damages. It would be the computer equivalent of making guns illegal to law abiding citizens. (After all, the criminals are above the law anyway. If someone is so inclined as to murder people, what difference does it make if some silly law says he can't have a gun?)

The unskilled programmers (who don't even like this work) should stop dreaming of getting rich quick. However, the programmers who are skilled should expand their skills in every direction possible. Certainly, each programmer should focus on the things he does best in order to be more effective at those particular skills, but there is nothing like experience in different types of programming to make someone flexible in this field, creating job security and expert authority. Perhaps a game programmer should try a small database job. Or a database programmer should try hacking some small feature into an operating system kernel.

Viruses are a legitimate subject of study. By teaching viruses, universities will give people a lot of power. Some will undoubtedly use it for evil, and we'll get some new viruses out there. But this would happen anyway.

Who, for example, are the best security consultants when it comes to credit fraud, insurance fraud, computer fraud, etc.? The perpetrators! There are examples of folks who committed all kinds of crimes and went to prison. Afterwards, they became "white-hat" consultants in their fields, teaching banks, governments, businesses, etc. how to protect themselves from people just like the consultant. They often make more money by teaching this knowledge for purposes of good than they did by committing the fraud in the first place. In other words, if you have experience with performing some act, then you undoubtedly know more about what makes someone vulnerable or safe from that act than any fool claiming to be a security expert.

The advantage of teaching viruses, which heavily outweighs the disadvantage of misuse by a large degree, is that programmers who have experience with viruses--not just by removing them from friends' clutter-ridden computers but by writing them and finding out what is effective from a virus writer's standpoint--will be more effective at designing systems and writing software that is less prone to the evils of viruses.

I think the field of Computer Science would benefit by teaching SPAM, cracking, and other forms of abuse in order that honest folks (nearly all of us) can protect themselves from the dishonest ones with the very same knowledge that makes the dishonesty so effective.

That's how I learned (5, Interesting)

PetoskeyGuy (648788) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020463)

Anyone remember Mark Ludwig? I remember getting "The Little Black Book of Computer Viruses" and his other books. It contained excellent explanations of how programs work, COM, EXE strcutre and then how to use ASM to modify those programs. There were ever some polymorphic virus in there all with Source Code. His later books, The Big Black Book of Computer Viruses and Computers, Viruses and Artificial Life were all right, and discussed Alife ideas about the code really being alive in the "world" of the computer.

I haven't read his latest book, The Little Black Book of Email Viruses: A Technical Guide [amazon.com] . I haven't thought about that stuff in a long time. It did allow me to find the ILoveYou virus and fix it at our company by quickly renaming the wscript.exe program since I learned to think about viruses in terms of what they needed to reproduce.

Personally I think the Novell file security system would be an excellent way to combat viruses and other things. Read, Write, Execute, Copy, Modify and a few others all as true seperate rights. Pain in the but to configure, but very nice once it was setup

Windows NTFS is a little better then just Read Only, Hidden, and System, but even the standard Linux RWX3 rights make me miss Novell. Anyone know if there is there a filesystem out there for Linux that has that level of rights?

Personally I don't know if it's possible to have a secure system that that is still usable by the masses who just want to check there email and click OK on every message box that pops up. It's hard enough to secure things when you know what your doing.

don't worry about anything bad coming from this... (0)

kyjello (566001) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020467)

I am in computer science at the University of Calgary, and everyone before the 4th years this new school year were taught pascal and java right from the start(sic). I wouldn't be too scared of what they can do in this course after this school year.

System.out.println("You are owz3d!!1");

Finally! (2, Funny)

MongooseCN (139203) | more than 11 years ago | (#6020515)

This will let Bush make all those jokes about invading Canada become a reality.

Wait, I meant liberate Canada from cyber terrorists.
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