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[ISN] First teenaged certified security professional

From: InfoSec News (isnc4i.org)
Date: Thu Dec 27 2001 - 01:55:40 CST


Dec 26 2001
submitted by Ron Kassen

South Bombay, India resident Namit Merchant, a young man of just 17
years, created quite the stir when he presented his high school ID
card to the proctor of the CISSP ("Certified Information Systems
Security Professional") exam, a 6 hour, 250 question affair. Although
there are no minimum age requirements for exam candidates, security
professionals who sit for the exam are required to have at least three
years of computer security experience.

Not to worry, though. Merchant is the son of a software engineer and
landed his first job at 13, working for Bombay-based Compuware. His
responsibilities were implementing security controls into payroll and
accounting software. He later went on to work for several more Indian
technology companies, and is currently employed with consulting firm
Network Intelligence India.

Merchant says that he got into the computer security field because of
the challenge. He must sit for the exam again in three years (he will
be 19 then) and may be able to present a driver's license for ID at
that time. Merchant's age prompted an investigation by the ethics
board of the International Information Systems Security Certification
Consortium (the organization that created the CISSP certification in
1989), and in December the group granted him the certification with
comments of surprise and enthusiastic congratulations.

Now that he has put up the $450 entrance fee and aced the exam,
Merchant will be responsible for paying dues and will be bound by the
CISSP code of ethics, which includes such things as "protect society,"
"act honestly," and "advance and protect the profession."

I know not everyone can be as ambitious as this young man (I was the
king of scraping through school without opening books), but this is an
incredible story that should encourage young people to remember that
they can achieve great things, and it should encourage adults not to
stereotype teenagers as rebellious troublemakers. There are bad apples
in every crowd, but there are also good ones.

This story caught my eye because, for a change, we get to hear
something good happening in the security world, not something that
someone hacked, or some exploit that an operating system vendor missed
and needs to patch.

Happy Holidays, and geek on!

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