Fundamentally, the study of information security can be categorized in three parts: Theory, Computer Systems Security, and Network Security. The theory section mainly deals with cryptology, the computer systems security section is closely related to data protection from virus attacks, and the network security section goes further into the field of information security in wireless networks.
“The study of information security has a long history when viewed as a part of cryptography,” said professor Chae Ki-joon (Computer Science & Engineering), the dean of the Department of Computer & Electronics Engineering.
With the generalization of the Internet in the 1990s, people began to look into information security. In the late 1990s, businesses based on establishing enterprises in this field and universities sought to open up courses in the major. However, due to a lack of investment and support from the government, such movements failed.
Then, in 2001, Soonchunhyang University set up the first department of Information Security Engineering, reviving efforts to build a professionalized field of information security on campuses. Although there was some hesitation initially, the importance of information security became noticeable after the country experienced heavy damage from a lack of experts in the field.
“Recently, there have been Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks and leakage of personal information and databases of businesses,” professor Chae said. “Service providers used to only regard security as something inconvenient for consumers, but now decipherment is considered a compulsory process to protect consumers and data.”
To prevent further damage to individuals and enterprises, the government, from last year, started sending official documents to universities to encourage the schools to develop and establish information security related majors and nurture professionals.
Universities are now putting in more effort to differentiate their departments from other schools by using different names and providing specialized education systems.
Among the departments newly founded in 2012, Department of Cyber Defense in Korea University is aiming to provide a differentiated course system. The department accepted its first 30 undergraduate students this year. It is affiliated with the Ministry of National Defense and the students study under a four-year full scholarship. The department further guarantees the privilege to work as a commissioned officer in the Cyber Command after graduation.
“The courses in the Department of Cyber Defense will focus more on the practicality of subjects such as electronic warfare, cyber psychological warfare, and cyber security bills, which are used to resolve conflicts between countries,” said an official of the department in Korea University, who asked to remain anonymous.
Ewha has also been offering Information Security as a bridge major since 2004. A bridge major is not a regular course in every university but, for Ewha, it provides students the opportunity to study two or more related majors. The Ewha Graduate School of Information Science has offered the Information Security major since 2003 when the field of study began to receive attention from the public.
“Working as an intern at one of the department’s professor laboratories, I became interested in cryptography and decided to register Information Security as my bridge major,” Shin You-jung (Computer Science & Engineering, 2) said.
The Department of Computer & Electronics Engineering at Ewha also plans to establish an information security related major in the future.
“The department is considering creating a major that deals with studies involved in the field of information security,” professor Chae said. “The founding of the courses will not only be considered in the graduate school level, but will also be regarded in the undergraduate level as well.”