An article in Newsweek around a year ago describeed a controversial computer-security class at Sonoma State University. This is a course on how to make computer viruses and how to go through even the best antivirus software. The teacher insists that his students mean no harm, and that he is trying to teach students to think like hackers so they can invent antidotes. ‘You cannot really encompass a defense plan if you do not know what the other guy's offense is,’ he says.
The companies which make their living fighting viruses are not happy regarding what's going on in this class. Some computer-security companies have even declared not to hire any student which takes this course. In a sense, the syllabus is a veiled attack on the McAfee, Symantec and other antivirus software companies, which the teacher sees as mostly hopeless: ‘If college students can beat these antivirus programs, he argues, what good are they for people and businesses spending almost $5 billion a year on them?’
The teacher expects that his students will put what they learn in his course to good use; of course, how the students will use their knowledge once they leave the class-room is beyond his control.
Is providing a college course on how to make computer viruses and other ‘malware’ morally justified? Convincingly defend your answer by drawing on suitable theories and concepts you have studied throughout this course.