This month a rehab camp for teenage computer criminals was held in Bristol, aiming to divert them away from cyberattacks and hacking by teaching them skills to help protect businesses instead.
CEO of Axial Security Systems, Mike Simmonds, believes that the course could help provide the next generation of desired cyber security professionals: “The rehabilitation camp needs to create an environment where doing the right thing is even cooler than doing the opposite; challenging the team to get inside the mind of the bad guy and to dig down into the drivers behind the code and intrusion ‘vectors’ they are investigating needs to be technically challenging and emotionally fulfilling – just the same as a full time cyber security professionals full-time job.
‘Resolving common security issues’
“When educating someone to ‘change hats’ from that of a black-hat hacker to that of a white hat security professional, the key part, of course, is ensuring that the lure of doing the right thing outweighs that of the unpalatable alternative,” he added.
Attendees received advice about careers in computer security and learnt about the responsible use of cyber skills by the National Crime Agency (NCA), giving individuals the ability to resolve and spot common security issues.
Simmonds explained: “The skills that need to be nurtured in what will be a fast-paced and extremely fluid environment will be centred around the ability to mentally visualise what is not ‘normal’ with a file, a transaction, an email, a web page and every other possible source of malware or virus.
Fast, clean and convenient network communication
“This allows you to understand how the payload is delivered, and the ways of recognising the activity its deployment generates as quickly as possible. Skills such as pertaining to network communication, firewalls, along with the protocols that are employed to ensure that modern network communication is fast, clean and convenient need to be fully comprehended so that behavioural anomalies in these areas are identified should they be utilised in an attack.”
As part of its ‘prevent scheme’, any teenager that commits computer crime will be invited to the rehab camp, where they will have to attend a workshop at the NCA.
Written by Leah Alger