Students Learn To Write Viruses

In a windowless underground computer lab in California, young men are busy cooking up viruses, spam and other plagues of the computer age. Grant Joy runs a program that surreptitiously records every keystroke on his machine, including user names, passwords, and credit-card numbers. And Thomas Fynan floods a bulletin board with huge messages from fake users. Yet Joy and Fynan aren’t hackers — they’re students in a computer-security class at Sonoma State University. And their professor, George Ledin, has showed them how to penetrate even the best antivirus software. The companies that make their living fighting viruses aren’t happy about what’s going on in Ledin’s classroom. Managers at some computer-security companies have even vowed not to hire Ledin’s students. The computer establishment’s scorn may be hyperbolic, but it’s understandable. Malware is spreading at an exponential rate

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