Ethical-hacking training racing against changing security landscape

Providers of security training skills are working overtime to keep their curriculum relevant to new threats while teaching advanced hacking skills in a methodical and manageable way, according to the head of Australia's largest IT training provider.

Instructors “try to adapt the classroom to the contemporary situation,” Mal Shaw, general manager of Dimension Data Learning Services (DDLS), told CSO Australia as the company recently introduced a new scenarios to engage candidates in the company's Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH) courses.

DDLS began offering C|EH courses – developed by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) – in Australia last year and has seen a “great” uptake in the course, Shaw said.

Demand for cybersecurity skills has been increasing as senior business executives push to bulk out their skills in conjunction with cloud and other initiatives this year.

A December survey of IT professionals by ESG identified information security as a key area of IT skills shortages, with 30 percent lacking adequate security analytics and forensics skills and equal amounts stating they were lacking endpoint security, network security and data security skills.

Fully 43 percent of the respondents in the ESG survey said their organisations lacked adequate cloud computing and server virtualisation security skills.

The introduction of new additional modules reflected both growing demand for the courses and the need to keep the skills they teach as current as possible, Shaw said.

“In terms of how fast we can do that,” he explained, “that depends on our availability and schedule, and on how quickly the threat landscape is moving. We do our very best to match the scenarios that we run in the classroom to the contemporary environment as closely as we can.”

The many training scenarios – which are made available to students of the five-day C|EH course to push their hacking skills against – address areas such as SQL injection, network sniffing, cryptography, steganography, uncovering hidden evidence in forensic files, testing the latest commercial tools for network exploitation, and initiating a denial of service attack.

Read more: Cyber crime in financial institutions

Those scenarios are available to students working from their homes or offices, using courseware that includes 24GB of 'underground' hacking and security tools for their use.

“We put C|EH forward as specifically focused on working in the scenarios and practicing in the labs based on approaches that hackers take,” Shaw said.

“Because it's offered as training and a certification, we think it's the way that both students and organisations can get an industry leading certification to broaden their skill sets if they already have IT certifications.”

Ongoing oversight of course participants, including the entry of their details on an EC-Council register, is structured to ensure that graduates of the course only use their newfound knowledge for good: “It's important with these skills that the students understand that the intention is to defend” from cybercriminals,” Shaw said.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

Tags IT professionalssecurity trainingMal Shawsecurity landscapecoursewareCertified Ethical Hacker (C|EH)Ethical-hackingDimension Data Learning Services (DDLS)

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