In Room 2117 of the Shelby Center, the Ethical Hacking Club teaches students the basics of cyber security through hands-on learning.
“Most people, when they think of hacking, [they] think of the guy in a basement or something with the black hoodie, and just the computer screen is the only light you see on him, and he’s probably hacking a bank, stealing everybody’s money,” said DeMarcus Campbell, junior in software engineering,
Campbell said ethical hacking is ethical because it is done legally and with permission. He said companies hire ethical hackers, or “white-hat hackers” to test their software and look for vulnerabilities.
According to Campbell, there are three types of hackers: white-hat hackers, grey hat hackers and black-hat hackers. He said black-hat hackers fit into the stereotypical idea of a hacker, while grey-hat hackers operate based on self-interest and do whatever their client wants them to do.
Ethical hacking is based on the intent of the hacker, said Jordan Sosnowski, president of EHC and senior in software engineering.
“Ethical hacking is like gun safety,” Sosnowski said. “You can learn how to properly shoot a gun without having an intent to hurt someone.”
A majority of the members of EHC are lowerclassmen, so EHC teaches them the basics of cyber security in digestible chunks.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
“We can only show them the tip of the iceberg,” said Lee Vanrell, vice president of EHC and senior in software engineering.
Vanrell said EHC is trying to get more companies to visit the club and talk to members about the specifics of jobs in cyber security. EHC plans on having a company visit after fall break to talk about reverse engineering, which is taking apart malware to learn how it functions in order to prevent future attacks.
“EHC isn’t about teaching everything about cyber security, it’s about getting people interested in the different topics and fields inside of it,” Vanrell said.
As news stories broke of major companies being breached by hackers, Campbell developed an interest in cyber security while fostering a passion for computer science.
“To be honest, I was confused,” Campbell said. “I knew I wanted to do it, but I didn’t know how to do it.”
Campbell said having someone walk him through the process helped to push him forward and learn the basics of cyber security and ethical hacking.
Sosnowski said he became the president of EHC out of necessity, but he also wanted to expand his knowledge of cyber security and get experience with public speaking.
Sosnowski’s favorite part of the club is answering questions about what the students don’t know. However, he said the best way for students to get better is to practice on their own.
Vanrell became exposed to cyber security through a high school competition called “CyberPatriot.” He said the competition narrowed his interest from a broader focus on computers to cyber security related things.
For Vanrell, his favorite activity within EHC is penetration testing, where he can test how a system is vulnerable and how to make it safer.
“I think it’s really important to try and show a real-world example of what companies do for cyber security,” Vanrell said. “Instead of being like, ‘Oh, hypothetically, this is what you are supposed to do.’”
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman