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. Full Story
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