SANS launches 'boot camp' to teach cyber-security in 8 weeks

Can anti-hacking 'skillz' be taught in a matter of weeks?

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The SANS Institute has launched a new UK Cyber Academy ‘boot camp’ it claims can equip trainees with cyber security skills normally requiring a two-year programme in only eight weeks.

The Institute’s argument is that conventional training is wilting under time pressures and many firms now need an accelerated learning programme that speeds up the process. It claims candidates will emerge from its Cyber Academy having sat GCIH and GSEC certifications with enough knowledge to competently defend their organisations against hackers.

And that is the point of cyber security training these days: not to spend time on abstract theory but on practical remedies against the real attacks being thrown at today's networks.

Exercises promised include hacking a drone to “find flaws” and coping with a malware outbreak to gen up on the sometimes intricate problems these situations throw up.

“The cyber skills gap is growing and the graduate pipeline will not meet demand in the short term. We need to quickly create new skilled professionals, not just hire from the limited existing pool” said SANS Institute EMEA managing director, Andrew Smith.

“We have seen many superb long term cyber skills initiatives that seek to build the future talent pool, but until now there has been no way to address the immediate skills gap within weeks, not years.”

According to Smith, conventional training was often inefficient and he believed that packing training into only eight weeks was possible.

The boot camp doesn’t come cheap at £25,000 per course (including accommodation) although this is an intensive training programme for elite students.  A detailed breakdown of the programme itself can be viewed on the SANS website

Forty places are available on each of two programmes per year with the first due to commence on 1 September in Cardiff.

“This course will teach tons of practical skills. It provides a safe environment to play with malicious code most people will never get their hands on,” said lead instructor and curriculum author, James Lyne.

“This is a radical new way of developing cyber skills and absolutely the best mechanism to accelerate the development of recent grads.”

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