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News

Female Students Increase At Security Training Event

SANS Institute : 02 November, 2010  (Company News)
11% increase recorded in the number of women applying for ethical hacking course to be held in London
Early registration for the upcoming SANS London 2010, the United Kingdom's largest security training event, shows an 11 percent increase of women students for Security 560, "Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking." SEC560 is one of the most technically rigorous courses offered by the SANS Institute.

Although Indicators confirm IT security remains a male-dominated industry, a claim supported by a SANS 2008 salary and certification survey, anecdotal evidence suggests more women are breaking into the sector. Research shows, women account for roughly 17 percent of IT security practitioners.

"Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in the number of female students taking these courses, a trend which is helping our industry," said Pieter Danhieux, a top information security expert at Ernst & Young, and an instructor for SEC560.

Danhieux has worked with more female practitioners over the last few years than at any point in his career, and believes the trend is growing. Danhieux is one of the senior executives in the attack and penetration team of EY in Europe who specifically focus on advising and assessing the financial industry. In this role, he meets a large number of IT security professionals from across the region. "Having a diverse range of competencies within a security team is extremely useful. People of different cultures, races, gender, and language skills bring innovative approaches to find and exploit weaknesses in an organization," he said.

Danhieux believes that there is little difference in the pass or fail rate between male and female students. "One of the top penetration testers, with expertise in social engineering attacks is a lady from the UK and it is fantastic that our industry is becoming more balanced like other spheres of life," he added.

Both genders continue to take advanced penetration testing courses, and share common traits such as the drive to discover new techniques. "Much of the course is hands-on, we work through real world situations and use tools and techniques that are constantly evolving," he said. "The students that excel are the ones that challenge us and look for ways to stretch the boundaries."

Danhieux also believes that part of the SANS experience is learning to think in a different way. "With our course you learn how the tools work from the inside, you learn how to analyze how much 'noise' you are making on the network, and you learn how to look at an organization from an offensive perspective," he added.
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