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7/19/2007
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IT Careers: New Master's Degree Emphasizes Ethical Hacking

Don't expect to see a big crowd for EC-Council University home football games: The program's inaugural Master of Security Science class consists of only six students and all are taking their courses online.

It may only be July, but school's in session for IT security pros looking to develop the white-hat hacking, computer forensics, and other skills needed to help businesses turn the tide of today's security woes in their favor.

These abilities are essential to ensuring the next generation of chief security officers have what it takes to defend their organizations against increasingly more organized cyberattacks, and they form the foundation of the new Master of Security Science program launched this week by EC-Council, an industry group that offers training and certification to e-commerce and security pros.

While several universities offer master's programs that address information security, they generally follow curricula that are broader and more theory-based than the one created by EC-Council University, which takes its candidates through cyberlaw, disaster recovery, e-business security, IT security project management, Linux security, network security, secure programming, and securing wireless networks. The four core classes that must be completed for graduation address ethical hacking and countermeasures, investigating network intrusions and computer forensics, managing secure networking systems, and security analysis and vulnerability assessment. Students also must develop and present a research project.

EC-Council has been working since last August to form its own university based in Albuquerque, N.M., and license the university under that state's Higher Education Department. Don't expect to see a big crowd on campus for EC-Council University home football games: The program's inaugural Master of Security Science class consists of only six students and all of them are taking their courses via an online portal. Four of the students are from the U.S., one is from Latin America, and one is from India. All of them have an undergraduate degree in computer science or IT security. Some of them have master's degrees, but not in information security.

The total cost to complete the master's program is projected to be $21,400, which includes a $2,000 enrollment fee and a $2,300 graduation fee. The program is expected to take between one and two years to complete, depending upon the pace that each student can sustain.

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