She's ready to fight hackers

SINGAPORE - Come August, Temasek Polytechnic (TP) students will be the school's guardians against hackers.

One of the students, Tanujah Swaminathan, 17, turned into a "hacker" during her first year in the poly.

But all of her hacking was done in a simulated laboratory environment, where she and her classmates were given case studies of security threats and attacks and taught to propose and design solutions.

Students doing the Diploma in Cyber and Digital Security and Diploma in Digital Forensics will be able to use these skills in real life at two new Security Operations Centres (SOCs) that will be set up in TP by August.

The SOCs are a result of partnerships with two computer companies, IBM and RSA, the Security Division of EMC. Each will help set up and run one of the centres.

An SOC is the first line of security defence for organisations. It monitors the IT infrastructure of respective organisations to detect abnormalities in network traffic and computer system behaviour.

TP is understood to be the first tertiary institute in Singapore to have SOCs, said Mr Benny Chin, 47, who is the polytechnic's deputy director of technology and resource management and who is in charge of the two diploma programmes.

Ms Lock Hun Ya, 40, the course manager of the programmes, said: "The SOCs will train students to monitor online traffic and cyber security within TP. The SOC will give students a bigger and broader view of real life and real-time security issues."

She said the SOCs create a "high security environment" and are of industry-standard, giving the students "real security incidents to respond to" so that they will be able to serve the industry better when they graduate.

Experts from IBM and RSA will be flown in from the US to set up the SOCs.

Said Tanujah: "I'm really looking forward to working in the SOC. Not everyone will have the privilege of such a hands-on experience with a real-life environment. It'll be really cool."

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