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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Snowden learnt ethical hacking, Java programming in India

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 04, 2013
First Published: 21:46 IST(4/12/2013) | Last Updated: 00:49 IST(6/12/2013)

Edward Snowden, who worked as a cyber security contractor for the US National Security Agency (NSA) and stole thousands of sensitive documents containing details of the worldwide snooping operations of the NSA, spent six quite and cautious days in India 2010 learning about ethical hacking and core Java programming.

"Snowden had told us that he worked for the NSA," recalled Hema Sharma, training centre manager at Moti Bagh campus of Koenig Solutions, the institute where Snowden spent six days before he became world famous for shocking the US government for his audacity to steal data from the NSA.

But the Koenig trainers were not surprised at all with Snowden's NSA background as they get many students who are working with the US snooping agency.

"Snowden generally kept to himself and only revealed the information that was sufficient enough to get him enrolled at our training campus. We didn't find him to active on any of the social media. He didn't make any friends during his stay here. Our foreign students generally take trip to Agra to see Taj Mahal but Snowden wasn't interested in that. But he was a fast learner," added Sharma.

According to Koenig Solutions, Snowden remained at Koenig from September 3, 2010 to September 9, 2010. He took two courses - Core Java and an advanced certificate course in ethical hacking.

When Snowden came here, he was probably posted in Japan. Koenig offers a package to its students from abroad that contains arrangements for stay as well. Snow paid a total of US $2143 (around Rs. 1.1 lakh) for his two courses and stayed at Koenig Inn in Karol Bagh," a company spokesperson added. 

"In fact when he became world famous for his exploits in May this year, I vaguely remembered that I also had a Snowden as student. I checked my record and found him to the same person. I also remembered that he left two days early due to sore throat," said Sisir Panda, another of his trainer at Koenig.

India was part of the group of countries to which Snowden had sought asylum when he was hiding at Moscow airport during transit. But India politely declined the application with an intention of not getting into any diplomatic row with the US over Snowden.

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