SecuringHardware.com has been providing hands-on hardware hacking training for almost a decade, and training has always been the top priority before all other work. Because of this, our courses have to stand on their own and can’t just be sales pitches for our products or a foot in the door for consulting services. Because of this, we also have the incentive become expert educators in addition to being expert practitioners.
Theory vs. Practice
For the things we have to learn before we can do them,
we learn by doing them.
- Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics
There are two broad categories of students interested in hardware security: Those who need to understand the concepts and their impacts, and those who need the skills to actually do the hardware hacking.
Textbooks, blog posts, or lengthy lectures might contain all the knowledge in a field, but might still be insufficient to implement it or understand its context. Meanwhile, hands-on practice can much more quickly convey both.
We believe the best way to learn to dump firmware off a device - is to dump firmware off a device. Likewise, the best way to understand how easy it is to dump firmware, or how essential encrypted storage might be - is also, to dump firmware off a device.
Because of this, our classes are generally 25% lecture and 75% lab. The lecture time sets the context and give a bit of background - but the real learning happens during the lab itself.
Teaching vs. Learning
Tell me and I forget,
teach me and I may remember,
involve me and I learn
- Chinese Proverb
There’s more to education that just getting teachers and students in the same room. In planning a course, it’s easy for an instructor to get caught up with worrying about how to teach the material and miss the true objective of letting the students learn it.
This plays hand-in-hand with our lab-based approach. An instructor might ‘teach’ a lecture with 10 critical points - how many will the students ‘learn’ and retain? Our approach is to set up the context and background of a lab for the students; the learning happens when they reach a roadblock and have to seek out the critical information themselves, significantly boosting retention in the process.
Cost vs. Value
Some know the value of education, by having it.
I know its value by not having it.
- Frederick Douglass
How much does training really cost?
In economics, we learn about opportunity cost. On top of the cost of the training itself, the true cost of training, also includes the opportunity cost of days away from productive work, which often outweighs the cost of the training.
How much is training really worth?
Here’s a secret - our training contains no exclusive, magical information. You could learn all the things we cover in class with freely available resources on the internet. However - we’re pretty confident and our clients agree that what might take a day of self-directed study can be covered in class in under an hour, because we’ve taken the time to curate the most important parts, and optimized the way that you learn them in glass. Every day of class clocks in at about a week of self-directed learning. Now, once we consider opportunity cost of all the time spent, it turns out training is still the better deal.