|© REUTERS/ Kim Jae-Hwan|
South Korean troops in Paju, a town bordering North Korea
The South Korean military and Korea University have signed an agreement to set up a cyberdefense program aimed specifically at training students in cyber warfare to combat virtual threats from North Korea.
The four-year cyberdefense major will be offered at Korea University's Graduate School of Information Security starting next year and will accept 30 undergraduates, according to a report by the country's English daily Korea Herald.
The army will provide four-year scholarships to students under the program who, upon graduation, will join the armed forces as military officers specializing in various cyber warfare units for seven years.
Training related to cyber warfare tactics, strategies, deciphering enemy codes, cryptography and cyber psychology will be part of the course curriculum to prepare students as "cyber warriors that we need in the military", said General Kim Sang-ki, who is army chief of staff, in the report.
Korea University's president, Kim Byung-chul, added: "We are very happy that with the support from the army, we can educate students who can contribute to strengthening our national security."
A separate report by news agency AFP said South Korea's plans to build up a cyber army is a response to growing virtual threats from its Northern neighbor.
South Korean authorities claimed North Korea was behind the system crash that brought down the former's biggest banking network, National Agricultural Cooperative Federation or Nonghyup, and rendered various customer services unavailable for several days. North Korea had denied the allegations.
"We seek to nurture warriors to fight in cyber warfare amid growing cyberterror threats from North Korea and to secure a stable supply of specialists," an army spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.
Security experts told ZDNet Asia earlier this month that cyber threats post a "real danger" to countries, and advised governments to take action to safeguard their infrastructure and information systems.