Stanford Offers Advanced Security Certification Online

Stanford University this fall began to offer its advanced computer security certificate program completely online in an effort to improve access to the program.

The six-course program is being offered through Stanford's Center for Professional Development. Its instructors said they believe it is the most sophisticated online course available, particularly because it offers more hands-on instruction than other courses.

The program also teaches clients how to build attacks and test their own defenses. Neil Daswani, one of three instructors of the seqence, told the Stanford Daily that the course fills a critical need, considering the rise of computer attacks. "Over the [last] five to six years, we've started to see a string of very, very serious [software] attacks," Daswani said.

Undergraduate courses teach students how to program but not to secure software, he added. "Most universities do have courses on cryptography, but, as it turns out, cryptography is a very small component of the overall system," Daswani added. "Ninety-nine percent or more are attacks where the bad guy has not broken the encryption but has taken advantages of vulnerability in the software."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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