School's in for extreme mastery of hacking defence

Security firms and consultancies were busy pitching their wares to IT professionals last week all claiming to offer the "first" real-life hacking courses available in Australia.

While some boasted of being the first hands-on, extreme hacking course in NSW, others bolder still, were spruiking about being the first in Australia.

Ernst & Young last week held its hacking "master class" in Sydney with another planned in Melbourne in December. eSign is offering Verisign accredited courses at its secure data centre in Melbourne.

While eSec and Foundstone offer the "ultimate" hacking course, Ernst & Young promises to take participants into the mind of a hacker and the skills required for defence against sophisticated attacks.

Meanwhile, Foundstone is sending a crack team of trainers to Australia (for the first time) to teach techniques and counter-measures in a hands-on lab environment.

Keith Glennan, eSec general manager, said security administrators often "don't know what they don't know" but the course lets participants view security from both sides - the good guys and the bad guys.

Head of Ernst & Young's national security solutions team, Eric Keser, said all participants are vetted to include only experienced professionals.

Most attendees at last week's "extreme" hacking course were IT professionals from law enforcement, government agencies and utilities.

The tough part for systems administrators is deciding if they want to be a master, extreme or hands-on.

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