More IT professionals and enthusiasts are learning how to hack into computer systems in order to protect their own.

In the past three months, more than 400 people have enrolled into the Ethical Hacking course offered by Informatics.

Ken Chua is an electronics engineer but his passion in IT spurred him to learn more about cyber-security.

"I use the Internet a lot, so it's good to know more about such security, so that if people try to hack into my system, I'll be more aware," Mr Chua said.

Students learn how to break into computer networks to check for vulnerabilities.

With the knowledge of how hackers operate, they can better protect their personal computers or company's systems against potential cyber threats.

"It's more on security. Just a five-day course, so you'll learn how they hack into the system. But as to how you hack into others, you'll need more time because there's a lot of programming knowledge needed also," one student said.

"At the end of the day, it's like any self-defence school. It is to teach the students self-defence. But they can also use that knowledge and tools to go out and harm people," said Informatics vice president Lawrence Wee.

In the past three years, the number of hacking cases in Singapore has more than doubled.

There were 24 cases of successful hacking in the first half of this year alone.

In fact, hacking tools are readily available on the Internet.

So such ethical hacking courses can also act as a check and balance as students will be legally-bound to an agreement that prevents them from hacking into a computer system illegally.

Demand for such courses is so strong, that classes at Informatics are almost fully booked till March next year.

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