Ethical hacking course launched

A new course is offering members of the public the chance to learn how to become a professional computer hacker - without ever leaving the house.

The lessons in so-called "ethical hacking", which is used by internet security companies to counter computer crime, are being offered for the first time as a distance learning course by the International Correspondence School.

The 300-hour accredited programme is operated from the company's Glasgow offices, but teaching is conducted through the post and online.

"We are very excited," said the ICS education services director, Julie Hepburn. "Students can study on the move and at hours to suit themselves."

Ethical hackers - also known as "white hats" - focus on understanding the methods used by criminals, and test computer systems for weaknesses that could leave them open to attack. They often conduct dummy raids and penetration tests to discover the security of a client's system.

During the £1,800 course, students will be taught a number of skills, including how to run denial-of-service attacks and the tricks of social engineering often used by hackers - as well as being shown how to create viruses.

However, since the skills learned during the course could easily be used for criminal gain, ICS said it is operating a strict vetting procedure.

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