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Thread: University to teach how to create spyware & e-mail spam

  1. #1
    University to teach how to create spyware

    University to teach how to create spyware

    var byString = ""; var sourceString = " News Staff"; if ((sourceString != "") && (byString != "")) { document.write(byString + ", "); } else { document.write(byString); } News Staff

    Computing science students at the University of Calgary can sign up for a course in creating two of the most noxious types of software: spyware and e-mail spam.

    But if the goal is to make one's self employable as a spam and spyware fighter, the course might not pay dividends.

    "It's not going actually be of any use to the students and probably they won't get jobs in the security industry either," said Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant with Sophos, a global network security company.

    "It's not actually a good qualification to have, to know how to write spam. Big deal, we're not interested in you."

    Spyware covers a wide range of activities. The strict definition is it gathers and reports information about a computer user without that person's consent.

    Some activities that can happen are the spyware hijacks your homepage setting, triggers pop-up ads and monitors keystrokes and captures information like your online banking password.

    Spam is primarily unwanted e-mail advertising.

    However, with the rising popularity of weblogs -- online publications that allow readers to post comments and to monitor "trackbacks," or links to an article -- spammers have now figured out how to spam both weblog comments and trackbacks.

    One problem for the course, however, is that many of the people doing the virus-creating, spying and spamming are self-taught.

    Four years ago, Montreal's "Mafiaboy" crippled online giants like Amazon and Yahoo! He did it by bombarding them with thousands of computer-generated messages that hit the sites simultaneously.

    Damages were estimated at $1.7 billion.

    He was 16 years old when he carried out his cyber-assault. After being caught, he was given an eight-month sentence in a youth detention centre.

    When the course starts next fall, students who sign up must agree to certain conditions.

    This is from the course's description:

    "Course assignments will involve implementing spamming and spyware techniques, and their countermeasures, under controlled conditions. STRICT assignment protocols will be in effect; failure to adhere to these protocols will result in an "F" grade in the course.

    "You will be required to sign a form stating that you have read and understood the assignment protocols, and that you understand that misuse of the information in this course can result in civil and criminal penalties under the laws of Canada and of other countries."

    No auditing -- meaning dropping in just to hear the lecture -- will be allowed. Student identification will be checked at the door.

    Richard Rosenberg of Electronic Frontiers Canada had this perspective on the course: "It is not unthinkable that something you learn could be turned to some detrimental cause. Almost anything you learn can be used in a negative way."

    With a report from CTV's Sarah Galasha

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    abu_has_the_power's Avatar I have cool stars
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    wow! just wow

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    maebach's Avatar Team FST Captain
    Join Date
    May 2005
    burlington, Ontario
    thats cool, it might hurt afterwards.

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    S!X's Avatar L33T Member BT Rep: +5
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    Storm's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    crazy skiing monkey

    why not? agents get tought how to make bombs......
    great FTP site for awesome quality video clips
    yeah, you have to sign up, but its worth it

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    why not!


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