University Tulsa training students for cyber espionage jobs
The University of Tulsa in Oklahoma offers a two-year course in cyber-espionage, with recruits going on to jobs with the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the Secret Service.
The little-known Cyber Corps programme, which teaches how to write computer viruses, hack networks, crack passwords and mine data from a range of digital devices, has already placed 85 per cent of its graduates with the NSA or the CIA, reports the Daily Mail.
Sujeet Shenoi, an Indian immigrant to the U.S., founded the programme in 1998 and continues to lead the teaching.
Students are taught with a mixture of classroom theory and practical field work, with each assigned to a police crime lab on campus to apply their skills to help recover evidence from digital devices, said Shenoi.
"I throw them into the deep end. And they become fearless," said Shenoi.
Much of their work involves gathering evidence against paedophiles, with several students having posed as children on the internet to lure predators into stings. In 2003, his students also helped solve a triple murder case by cracking an email account that linked the killer with his victims.
Earlier in May, the NSA named Tulsa as one of four centres of academic excellence in cyber operations, alongside Northeastern University in Boston, the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota.
Applicants to Tulsa's programme, who have ranged in age from 17 to 63, must be U.S. citizens eligible for security clearance of 'top secret' or higher.
Many are military veterans or others looking to start second careers, usually people who are working towards degrees in computer science, engineering, law or business.