CPSC 527 - Computer Viruses and Malware

Special note for Fall 2015: I am currently on sabbatical and I won't be looking at applications for CPSC 527 until mid-summer, sorry (and I can't have GPAs calculated until after the winter term marks are in anyway). You may want to register in alternate courses and switch your registration if your application is successful. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Course Description

This course will focus on malicious software, or malware, such as computer viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. Malware techniques will be studied, along with countermeasures and so-called "benevolent" forms of malware. Legal and ethical issues will be covered, as will more general computer and network security issues.

Course assignments will involve creating malware under controlled lab conditions. Due to the inherent danger of this software, you may only work on these assignments in the designated lab room for the course. STRICT lab 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 lab 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.

Enrollment for Fall 2015

(Graduate students interested in CPSC 627 should contact me directly.)

Due to limited lab resources, there will be limited number of people admitted to this course. The requirements are as follows:

Deadline for essay submission: as soon as possible. We are able to assess applications as they come in, right up to the start of classes. Send your essays to aycock@ucalgary.ca in ASCII or PDF format. (Please note that Microsoft Word files will not be accepted!)


No auditing or "sitting in" on any part of this course is allowed, sorry. ID checks will be done as students enter the class.

After this Course

In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that a few companies have made public statements that they will not hire people who have ever written a virus program. Thus, they have stated that they will not hire students who have taken this course. These statements have been made primarily by companies who make anti-virus software as they want to avoid any perception that they are in league with virus writers. Please consider this when deciding if you want to enroll in the course.