When Edward Snowden came to India to learn 'hacking'

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Computer analyst-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden worked as a contractor for the US National Security Agency. (Reuters) Computer analyst-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden worked as a contractor for the US National Security Agency. (Reuters)
SummaryEdward Snowden worked eight hours and never took smoke breaks, says trainer.

A thin, bespectacled man seemingly fastened to his chair. His eyes glued to his desktop, the only visible movement being of his fingers running through the keyboard, the only sound audible being the scrolling of the mouse. The man who never asked questions, is one part of the story of Edward Snowden. This is what trainers at Koenig Solutions LTD in West Delhi’s Moti Nagar area remember of computer analyst-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Snowden, who worked as a contractor for the US National Security Agency and allegedly stole 58,000 documents containing names and other personal details about British intelligence operatives as well as information about this country’s spying techniques and capabilities, came to Delhi in 2010 for a superfast crash course on EC Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) and a course on Core Java. “He used to work eight hours non-stop. He wrote to us in the year 2009, seeking admission in the institute. He introduced himself as a Japan national working with the NSA, US Government. He was with us from September 3 to September 9, 2010,” Sisir Panda, the technology manager who trained Snowden, said.

The ECSA complements the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification by exploring the analytical phase of ethical hacking. The course helps students perform the intensive assessments required to effectively identify and mitigate risks to the security of the infrastructure, Sisir explained. “In order to teach students how to secure their network, we have to teach them the techniques that a hacker uses to hack into an account. Hence we call it “Ethical Hacking”, which one uses to ensure their own security. We teach them the concept, now it is up to the student as to how they put that knowledge into use,” he said.

He added, “Snowden had excellent knowledge of networking, programming and security management. I wondered why he never had any questions, how he never interacted with anyone, never took a smoke break or never went out for the trips organised by the institute for its international students.”

Snowden, the trainer said was a very fast learner and passed his examination with distinction. “He stood out as a student, but we never thought he would bag headlines two years later. He stayed at the accommodation provided to him by the institute in Karol Bagh and had paid $2,143 for the two courses,” founder and CEO, Koenig Solutions, Rohit Aggarwal said.

Though the institute only has faint memories of

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