back to article GCHQ names the Hogwarts for Hackers

The UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has certified six Masters of Cyber Security degrees. The certifications were issued under the UK's Cyber Security Strategy that, among other things, calls for the nation to “Strengthen postgraduate education to expand the pool of experts with in-depth knowledge of cyber.” …

  1. Mystic Megabyte
    Black Helicopters

    Hogwarts magic spell

    Does GCHQ have a motto? If not, then I suggest; Imperium C Imperium V

    Somebody can probably better, my brain has only had one cup of tea so far.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Hogwarts magic spell

      Per Metum Imperium

      suggests itself...

  2. Christoph
    Black Helicopters

    So if you pass one of these courses and don't go to work for them or for someone they approve of, they will keep a permanent eye on you to see just what you wanted that course for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I wonder why the traditional spook recruiting ground Cambridge isn't mentioned in that list. Trying to divert the attention? :)

      1. rhydian

        I assume its because they don't want spooks working for the away side (Maclean, Philby, Burgess)...

    2. James 100

      Not far off, I suspect ... I'm doing a PhD at one of the institutions which applied for that status for the MSc course (unsuccessfully it seems, since we're not on this list*), and one of the entrance requirements is a police background check before you can even begin studying it! (In an amusing irony, that requirement only applies to the MSc, not to PhDs.)

      * - fingers crossed for the batch later this year, I suppose.

      1. Nifty Silver badge

        These courses will be booked out by Chinese students. Their local police stations will be able to supply the needed background checks which will show them to be upstanding and patriotic citizens all.

    3. plrndl

      @Christoph

      "So if you pass one of these courses and don't go to work for them or for someone they approve of, they will keep a permanent eye on you..."

      ...just like everyone else.

  3. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    Sir

    They could do something immediately to rectify the shortfall by allowing security consultants to submit themselves for security clearance rather than having to be sponsored by a list-x company.

    If you stop working for aforementioned list-x company, your SC will expire unless you get another job with SC clearance requirements.

    As soon as you get off the merry-go-round and your clearance expires, it's next to impossible to get back on it as agencies are always stipulating that you already *have* SC clearance (regardless of what they say about being prepared to go through the process - it takes around 12 weeks iirc).

    Also, will they be vetting the students before they take this course, or just do it afterwards if they apply for a position? Coz if they fail the clearance they will just take their skills to someone a bit less choosy who will probably have deeper pockets.

    1. mark 63 Silver badge

      clearence

      yep, that just happened to me. All you can do is put on your CV "Used to have SC so will pass if you put me through it . again."

  4. Anonymous Blowhard

    I feel safer already

    Not!

  5. David Pollard

    What does Verity have to say about this?

    The can be but few in El Reg's readership who are not now eagerly awaiting Ms Stob's analysis.

    See, e.g.,

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/13/verity_stob_open_university/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/14/verity_stob_further_eduation/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/18/verity_stob_pgpdip/

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is clearance needed at all?

    Just to learn how to use nmap and boot up Kali. I doubt they teach enough to do any serious damage...the courses are probably very restricted.

    You dont need security clearance to study nuclear physics as far as im aware.

    So is having cyber security knowledge officially more dangerous than being able to build a nuke?

    Might as well do the same for social workers studying degrees. Using the same logic, if you cant get clearance you must be a paedophile.

    Or people studying medicine because everyone is Harold Shipman right?

    Or Law...because everyone wants to go into organised crime.

    This is one of the reasons there is a "shortage" in cyber security experts. Its not that there are few out there, its because of red tape. Id love to expand my business into pentesting but thanks to insane hurdles in the way of certification I cant get into the business in any meaningful way.

    I suspect hackers enjoying free speech and spreading propaganda are more frightening to the powers that be than a nuclear apocalypse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You dont need security clearance to study nuclear physics as far as im aware.

      True, but if you happened to be (e.g.) an Iranian national trying to get in on a nuclear physics course then your application might be scrutinized a little more carefully than usual...

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: You dont need security clearance to study nuclear physics as far as im aware.

        Yeah, like with a sudden major organ failure or an "accident" on the streets of Tehran.

  7. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    GCHQ certifies Hogwarts for infosec professionals??

    In other news, Lord Voldemort has announced that he is opening a shelter for orphaned boys!!

    (What could possibly go wrong!?!?!)

  8. FlipperofFury

    You dont need clearance to get on one of the courses, they are open to anyone. They are just saying that the Masters are of the right make up for GCHQ to recognise them. Cambridge don't do a specific infosec masters, although they do have a great security group. Lots of university's have GCHQ centre of Excellence stamps etc.

    1. SteveB299
      Mushroom

      Eton Mess

      And one of these degrees wont get you into GCHQ without the requisite old school tie.....

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