Should schools teach students about ethical hacking?
There are hackers and movers and shakers present in every industry. People must be educated about both the legal and illegal aspects of hackingeducation Updated: Dec 22, 2017 16:40 IST
Teachers are constantly managing students across the entire spectrum of potential and capabilities. There are various skilled programmes that cater to students who shine in subjects like math, science, and other academic areas of interest. Nevertheless there is one distinct type of student interest that is actively discouraged by schools - which is hacking of computers.
There has been a growing demand for talented and ethical hackers in the industry and in the government, but unfortunately society views them with a jaundiced eye. When it comes to hacking, the common notion is that the job involves entering a system without permission solely to access someone’s bank and other private information or to disrupt a website.
However, while accessing bank information is a criminal act and thereby illegal in nature, hacking could help one understand computers and related infrastructure in a little more detail. It also includes added focus on finding flaws in the system and fixing these errors. It is important to remember that hacking, like everything else, has a good and bad side to it. There are those that misuse hacking for their own personal agenda, but that does not serve true for every hacker.
There are hackers and movers and shakers present in every industry. People must be educated about both the legal and illegal aspects of hacking. Every school has a few students who are exceptionally good with computers, write their own code, and are generally well versed with the processes involved. Those children, without the correct guidance, could resort to seeking all answers on the internet – which is at times not an ideal place for an ethical hacker to learn and grow. However, in India due to the negative perception of hacking, many institutions hesitate to offer a course in ethical hacking.
Schools at present have various clubs: for science and math or dramatics and literature, to help students develop their passions. In a similar way, one option would be to create a club for computer sciences to enable those with exceptional computing skills to grow their skill sets. Potential hackers among them can be supervised by a responsible adult with a guideline of the dos and don’ts of hacking. This is a much safer method of learning than leaving children on their own to educate themselves online.
This should be included in the curriculum of schools. Many schools can host activities that allow for the sifting of gifted students and those that are interested can opt for it or join clubs.
Despite constant disruptions, we need the youth of today to come up with newer solutions. To promote ethical hacking, we must teach those interested the way the current systems work and how to make it better. Outside of India there are students as young as 12 who have begun unsupervised hacking of accounts, thanks to all kinds of information available on the internet. If there is a supervised hacking course that is provided at school, students will be privy to guided ethical hacking and may secure good careers later. Therefore, only by allowing children to enrol in ethical hacking courses can they be swayed to not pursue unsupervised hacking processes.
Since India is an IT hub, we must procure and partner experts from the industry that design solutions so that they can positively influence the youth of today. These experts can aid in guiding, mentoring and setting clear boundaries for aspiring hackers across the spectrum. On a micro level, this helps in providing the child with a fundamental understanding of how ethical hacking works and on a macro level aids in shaping the future of the IT sector
The author is an educationist and recipient of ‘Edupreneur of the year 2017’ by Assocham India. Views expressed are personal.