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"Ethical hacker" training to battle attacks

Training camps teach IT workers the ways of the hackers who infiltrate their companies' systems thousands of times a year.

One thing the IT world doesn't need is more computer hackers - unless of course they are the new breed of "good-guy" hackers trained in the ways of malicious computer attackers in order to stop them.

This is exactly the thinking of companies like InfoSec Institute, the US training organisation that specializes in training "ethical hackers".

The Illinois company offers a variety of training sessions, or "boot camps" as they refer to them, about 40 times a year. The boot camps, which usually range from 15 to 20 students each, have proven to be quite popular.

Jack Koziol, an instructor at the company, told The Wall Street Journal that his class sizes have doubled over the last year.

"There used to be a big debate about whether anyone should even learn these skills," Koziol said. "We were vilified. Now it's more accepted."

The average large American business was subjected to 150,000 hacker attacks in 2007, according to the US data-privacy think tank the Ponemon Institute. Almost 2,000 of these attacks were considered sophisticated enough to cause a potential breach of data for the company under attack.

InfoSec Institute is just one of almost 500 places around the world future computer hackers can go for training, according to the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants (EC-Council).

The EC-Council, a professional member-supported IT certification organization, offers official "ethical hacker" certification for people who complete the boot camps. To date, more than 11,000 people have received the accreditation.

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