Sophos joins other anti-virus industry experts in signing public letter regarding virus writing classes at the University of Calgary

June 03, 2003 Sophos Press Release

Experts at Sophos have joined forces with colleagues and competitors in the anti-virus industry in questioning the University of Calgary's plans to teach virus writing to students. A public letter has been written stating the opinion of many security experts that writing viruses is not necessary and not useful in learning how to protect against virus attack.

The signatories of this public letter, all security professionals with years of experience in dealing with computer viruses, and who work in all sectors, wish to express their whole-hearted support of the following principle:

It is not necessary and it is not useful to write computer viruses to learn how to protect against them.

"You don't teach people how to create new landmines to learn how to defuse them," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "There is no need to make code self-replicating to test new vulnerabilities or features which could appear in future viruses. The essential component that makes it a virus - self-replication - can be left out."

The public letter and list of signatories can be read here.