Mike Leidig
Phone: +43-1-81140-319
Thu, 23.01.2003
pte20030123046 Education/Career, Computer/Telecommunications
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Education for computer hackers in Germany
Potential hackers must have curiosity, technical motivation and obsession

Berlin (pte046/23.01.2003/11:10) - Would-be computer hackers can now go to university to learn the art of breaking into other people's systems - and leave with a degree. The hacker courses are being offered by IT experts at the German university who say the only way to stop a hacker is to become one. Markus Schumacher, who is teaching the course, said: "In order to be able to defend an IT system, the person responsible has to be able to look at it from the viewpoint of an attacker."

Defending the course from critics, Schumacher added that the students were also taught the legal consequences of hacking into private networks for real. The course is very much hands-on with students tapping into foreign systems and defending their own. Schumacher said: "One group prepares to attack the computer while the others watch, before preparing their defence measures. Afterwards they exchange roles."

The next step involves having to hack into each other's computers whilst at the same time protecting their own from counterattacks. Schumacher said: "The course encourages students to overcome hurdles and continually develop improved and more ingenious ways of infiltrating systems - just as professional hackers must."

According to Schumacher and his two colleagues at the university, Utz Roedig and Marie-Luise Moschgath, potential hackers have to possess three qualities - curiosity, technical motivation and obsession. The tutors added that patience was also a valuable virtue in order to "find explicit solutions for recurring problems".

And Schumacher said the beauty of the course was that no outside networks were harmed by their attempts to break into each other's computers because internal firewalls were set up. He said: "Naturally mistakes are made, but it is important for the students to make them. Only people who make mistakes and understand them will be in the position to make the right decisions in the future."

Submitter: pressetext.austria
Contact: Mike Leidig
Phone: +43-1-81140-319