As the importance of information security increases, various security-related clubs or associations were established. However, there is not enough open place to share security information of individuals and groups. With the desire to create an open ground for anyone or group that wishes to participate and widen the knowledge about information security together, SecurityPlus Union Academy (SUA) was established.
The SUA is a college information security community aiming for open security, information sharing and, creating innovative value. Started as a small group of six people, it has developed into a nation-wide community in one year and now consists of about 650 of members.
Existing information security communities have mostly been made up of union of college clubs. Due to this reason, individuals and independent small groups lacked chances to participate in projects or conferences related to security.
“Looking for ways to attract participation, we decided to start the 1st conference,” said Myung Sung-sik (Sejong University, 4), the former president of SUA. “Through this conference, students struggling with learning security started to get interested and it became popularized.”
Including the conferences, SUA has promoted a variety of activities related to security. To accumulate its knowledge, SUA formed study groups such as learning about web hacking or how to get certification for Information Security Management System (ISMS).
In an attempt to break the stereotype that security is a very difficult subject, SUA held “Let’s Festival” on March 2014. Not concentrating too much on in-depth technological subjects but more accessible contents, SUA tried to hold the event more like a college festival. It drew particiants’ attention through introducing events in real life related to security, such as smart phone hacking.
Small activities such as cross puzzle game and quizzes were also prepared. In addition to these efforts to broaden its understanding of security, SUA endeavors to share this with people who have less chance to encounter the topic “security.” For instance, SUA visited local community welfare center and provided free computer repair and a lecture about the ways of using smart phone.
To improve people’s information security awareness, SUA also held campaigns and question investigation at high schools and subway station.
Despite its high growth rate, it is inevitable for SUA to face rocky roads as a student-led community.
“Because it is hard to receive help from experts to process many activities, planning every single step for the events is another adversity,” Myung said.
No matter how arduous the hardships are, SUA has pushed through these together enthusiastically.
“Sometimes, students who used to keep their interest toward security individually showed gratitude for providing the environment to participate together,” Myung said. “Those appreciative words bring us a huge pleasure, since sharing is one of our biggest values.”
To embrace individual members, we changed our system as an individual membership system. Now, SUA endeavors to devise means to cultivate individual members’ sense of belonging through community activities.
“The lack of fields to participate in makes people agonize,” said Koo Hee-jung (Seoul Women’s University, 3) who was recently elected as the president of SUA. “Resolving their worries is my biggest wish and final goal,”
According to Koo, through joining SUA, she always lives with the cognition toward security. When making an account, she uses passwords that are combined with different kinds of words and hard to be guessed by others.
“However, above all, the best part of being a member of SUA is that people with the same interest ‘security’ are gathered and share their knowledge together,” Koo said.