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University opens school for hackers

Scottish university says students will be carefully vetted for course in ethical hacking.

A degree course in computer hacking has been launched by a Scottish university in response to industry demand for IT security experts.

The University of Abertay in Dundee will run the Bachelor of Science undergraduate course in "Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures" starting in the next academic year in October.

Around 30 students will be enrolled in the course, which the university says will provide a graduate with knowledge of how illegal computer attacks can be performed and how they can be stopped.

The course catalog description says: "In the same way that police detectives need to know how thieves can steal, computer systems administrators need to know what hackers can do."

The university said it has launched the degree course in response to demand for people with the skills to test the security of corporate IT networks. "There are an increasing number of compliance regulations and insurance policies that insist businesses carry out security checks on their networks," a representative for the academic institution said.

The university also stressed it will be vetting students "very carefully" in accordance with Home Office guidelines and that they will be monitored closely throughout the course. "We are not going to give them the full set of tools on day one," the representative said.

Although many existing undergraduate computing degrees cover elements of this new course, Abertay claims to be the first U.K. university to offer a dedicated degree course in hacking.

There are also ethical hacking courses and qualifications offered by private sector IT training organizations such as the Training Camp, which launched a course two years ago.

Andy McCue of reported from London.