Monday, April 28, 2008

Another viruswriting contest ... oh no, not again!

There will be a new contest at the Defcon hacker conference this August: Called Race-to-Zero, the contest will invite Defcon hackers to find new ways of beating antivirus software. Contestants will get some sample virus code that they must modify and try to sneak past the antivirus products. Awards will be given for "Most elegant obfuscation", "Dirtiest hack of an obfuscation", "Comedy value" and "Most deserving of beer"... The contest was announced Friday. The contest organizers say that they're trying to help computer users understand just how much effort is required to skirt antivirus products. The Race-to-Zero sponsors hope to present the contest results during Defcon. The contest is not organized by Defcon, but is one of the unofficial events that the show's organizers have encouraged attendees to arrange. Defcon runs Aug. 8 to Aug. 10 at the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
To my opinion this is very unethical, it's like creating new samples of a biological virus and that's something you also try not to do, isn't it. And actually, encouraging people to do this as a contest is really over the top. It's also encouraging people all over the world to create or even change viruses! It's all in the (wrong) mindset of a lot of people these days! Let's hope we can still educate and 'evangelise' the people in the good direction otherwhise the future could be much worse than we think. I predict that a lot of AV and security vendors will have a lot of comment on this topic during the next weeks!