Cyberwar, as the new hacking class in Berkeley, California, is called, is teaching students how to detect cybersecurity flaws in websites people use on a daily basis. Currently, 80 students are enrolled.
Twice a week, the students gather to learn about how cybercriminals go about hacking into computers. However, the aim of the course is not to teach people how to commit these crimes themselves; rather, by educating them on how to hack, they intend to better equip students to stop hackers.
Vy-An Phan, one of the students, reports that during class assignments, she was able to spot vulnerabilities on at least five different sites. These vulnerabilities could potentially be used for tricking someone into making an incorrect registration. She mentioned that state websites and local websites, in particular, were extremely poorly run.
Apart from government sites, the students are also learning how to spot vulnerabilities in apps, shopping, and banking sites. Allegedly, one of the students banked $100 after reporting one of the vulnerabilities to the company. The course is collaborating with HackerOne, a platform where white-hat hackers can report bugs and cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and every vulnerability discovered is immediately reported.
Doug Tygar is the instructor behind the course. He views it as an experiment. According to him, one must first learn to think like a hacker before attempting to build super secure systems.
The class may play a substantial role in helping students find future employment. As the report by Cybersecurity Ventures suggests that by 2021, there will be 3.5 million unfilled jobs worldwide in the field of cybersecurity.