Computer hacking will join the ranks of legitimate qualifications on offer to Australian IT professionals next month with the launch of new certified ethical hackers program.

The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) training course is designed to teach professionals vendor-neutral techniques and methods of breaking into computer networks "ethically".

Devised by international e-business organisation EC-Council (International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants), the CEH certification course and exam is being offered in Australia by training institute MIS Technologies.

The five-day hacking course, which will be held in Sydney from 5 to 9 April, consists of 22 modules. Topics covered include intrusion detection, distributed denial of service attacks, buffer overflows and virus creation, as well as hacking techniques for cracking into wireless networks, Linux and Web-based authentication tools.

MIS course consultant and spokesperson Jonson Siaw said the CEH course is the first EC-Council derived certification program to be offered by MIS Technologies. MIS plans to run the course on a quarterly basis. Those who undertake the training program will also be able to do the CEH exam with MIS.

Labelling itself as the "global voice of e-business professionals", the EC-Council member body includes representatives from Microsoft, IBM, Xerox, Sony, Motorola, Quantum Research and Cisco. Other programs it offers include the recently launched Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator track.

Wilson Wong, spokesperson for Asia-Pacific EC-Council certification program distributor Wordware, said there is a strong demand for certified hackers in the corporate sector, particularly in the banking, telecommunications, petrochemical, fast moving consumer goods and manufacturing industries, as well as government agencies like utilities and transportation.

The cost of the five-day MIS hackers course is around A$3,000 (£1,225). Spaces in the April 2004 session are limited to 20.

Those who enlist in the course will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which restricts them from using the technologies and skills learned during the CEH course in an "unethical" manner, either by launching illegal or malicious attacks, or by compromising any computer system.

More information on the CEH program and the EC-Council is available at: