Since 2008, a branch of the University of Maubeuge-Valenciennes trains at Ethical Hacking . A specialty still unknown in France. But this version responsible for hacking is very popular with businesses and sensitive sectors who want to protect themselves from cybercrime.

The term hackers is scary but you can get the skills from certified ethical hacker courses. However, wrongly, since all those who are able to attack a computer system are not necessarily potential cybercriminals, far from it. There are also geeks , computer enthusiasts, so curious and talented that they are able to break through the best kept secrets. Just for the game, for the challenge, for the pleasure of surpassing yourself and pushing back their limits.

To do it well, we should reserve the name of “pirates” unscrupulous hackers, acting for a villainous purpose, even criminal. In recent years, these thugs of the Net are legion, it is undeniable  Meanwhile, knowing that amalgam has already been made and that it has long sown confusion in the minds, to distinguish the “kind” “Hackers of others, we speak more and more often of” ethical hackers “.

Behind this oxymoron hides a reality still unknown to the general public, and even students in computer science. At the sixth Forum on Cyber ​​Security (FIC) in Lille, late January, Antoine was happy to miss information about it while he himself in third year at Epitech: ” It is easier to find information and documentation relating to unethical hacking. We never come to find us on ethical hacking. Me, I have a book at home that talks about it, that’s all! Even though the teachers make their students aware of this “discipline”, it is only an overview. It is up to them to inquire further if they want to see more clearly.

University of Maubeuge-Valenciennes.

A unique license of its kind Quentin, precisely, crossed this step at the end of Terminale. Thanks to a presentation, he was suddenly passionate about computer security by certified ethical hacker courses, followed by a BTS, then a professional license at the University of Maubeuge-Valenciennes . The CDAISI license, for “Collaborators for the defense and anti-intrusion of computer systems”, is a unique diploma of its kind in France and in Europe. If this name extension is unpronounceable, the fault lies with the Ministry of Higher Education, which never wanted to resolve to use the term too sour certified ethical hacker courses at the French university!

Created in 2008, this teaching is a hit: more than 300 cases filed in 2013 for 45 seats only. Robert Crocfer, a research engineer and internship coordinator, is a happy teacher: ” At home, it’s not traditional, it’s very academic, it’s very interactive. We learn things for our students, to organize for example  but we also learn a lot from them! There is a real exchange between teachers and students. We are looking for curious people, snoopers who will not be afraid to use the system as it should not be. This is called “stressing” the system. Whoever comes to us has already “hacked”, necessarily. We are just here to hand over ”

At FIC Lille, Quentin and his classmates wore black sweatshirts with the words Ethical Hacking , history of being spotted by the 3000 conference participants. They were happy to compete with each other live and in public for two days to show off their brand new talents. In Maubeuge, their core business is the flaws of all kinds: physical faults, network faults, web vulnerabilities, forensic , social engineering, etc. Simply, unlike cybercriminals who seek to harm, ethical hackers seek instead to find solutions to counter attacks or repair their damage. In short, they think like pirates  to better block them!

A highly sought-after specialty

Obviously, such skills do not stay long on the market. There are now ethical hackers everywhere: in the central administration, in the intelligence services, in the banks, in the big groups. Several students from Maubeuge recently joined the Accor group. Stanislas de Maupeou, director of security consulting and evaluation at Thales, is on the same wavelength: ” Thales has of course a team of ethical hackers who do intrusion tests. They are responsible for testing the lines of defense, the security of the systems and the applications of some large accounts and some large customers. We will not know more, confidentiality obliges.

At Thales as elsewhere, ” it is necessary to somehow get out of the box to circumvent the security rules put in place. This is what is asked of ethical hackers, to tell us if the system resists or not to attack. Suddenly, we want clearly innovative, creative people, with at the same time a real rigor, “says Stanislas de Maupeou, who categorically refuses to” return “former pirates.

It is a long way from the time when companies used, almost secretly, autodidacts or recruits flirting with illegality. Now, the young “genius hackers” have a boulevard in front of them and that’s pretty good news! Moreover, while he has not finished his school year, Quentin has already been spotted and must start working as soon as next school year in a specialized company in Mulhouse.