The University of West Haven is teaching the tricks of computer hacking to its students. Computer breach after computer breach is consistently plaguing the headlines, so UNH’s leadership has added an “ethical hacking” class to its engineering and computer science curriculum this Spring. Students are taught how to set up their own private networks and attempt to hack into each other’s systems.
“The idea here is for students to learn how to defend,” said Frank Breitinger, a UNH computer science professor. “You have to think like a bad guy, know how they would attack a system so you can make it secure.” Professor Abe Baggili, who leads the UNH cyberforensics research and education group said, “We are getting to the point in time where it’s not only about the defense, it’s about the offense.”
It is about time that other schools around the globe start implementing ethical hacking into their curriculum. I remember as a Computer Science student one of our professors tried to get permission to teach us how to crack password hashes obtained from a SQL database as an exercise. The idea was shot down, because we might hack into our education system’s internal network once we learned the skill. This mindset has to change if we want to develop competent cyber professionals for the future.