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.