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Last Updated: Monday, 19 June 2006, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Computer course to teach hacking
Computer user
Demand for protection from hackers is increasing
A Scottish university is launching a course to teach students how to be computer hackers.

But the degree at Abertay University in Dundee, beginning later this year, will teach "ethical" hacking.

Students will be taught how to crack sophisticated security systems so they can advise organisations how to protect their networks.

The course, which is seeking government accreditation, comes as demand for traditional computer courses declines.

Advisory role

The prospectus for the new course makes reference to the well-known saying, "it takes a thief to catch a thief", but the university has insisted that it is not designed to turn students into hackers.

Applicants to the four-year BSc in Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures will also face a tough government vetting process to ensure students do not enrol with the intention of using their skills to break the law.

Abertay is hoping the course will gain accreditation from the Department of Trade and Industry's Institute of Information Security Professionals.

Course leaders will also seek recognition from the British Computer Society, a chartered organisation.

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