Sewook Seo
Cybercrime Detective Sewook Seo ’16 Keeps Zoom Secure

Sewook Seo ’16 was a distinguished cybercrime police detective in his native South Korea. Amidst a targeted cyberbullying campaign against famous Korean hip hop star Daniel Lee, Seo deduced who was attacking Lee in the highly publicized defamation investigation. “The entire Korean nation was looking at this case. In Korean society, cyberbullying is a very serious crime. A lot of people commit suicide because of it. Korea has the highest suicide rate in the world and is one of the few countries with criminal laws against cyber defamation and bullying.”


Finding the attackers involved cooperation with the FBI and Interpol. After the case was officially closed and the attackers went to prison, Seo’s agency wanted to reward him. “My cybercrime investigative division sent me to the U.S. so that I could learn more about forensic analysis technology,” he says. “That’s why I came to John Jay College. It’s in partnership with, and highly regarded by, the Korean National Police Agency.”


Earning His Master’s Degree
Seo came to John Jay to earn his master’s degree in digital forensics and cybersecurity. “John Jay has very strong connections with government agencies. People from the FBI and CIA were always coming to talk to us, break down ideas, and share their experiences. In fact, many of my professors were from those agencies, which really deepened my understanding of cybersecurity,” he says.


After coming to the U.S., “I wanted to have a better understanding of American laws,” says Seo. “Luckily, John Jay offered really interesting classes about the evolution of cybercriminal laws in the U.S. It gave me a comprehensive background on how cybersecurity can be investigated and prosecuted in this country.”


Broadening His Skills at Zoom
After graduating, Seo and his family decided to stay in the U.S. and he landed a job at Zoom. “As a Senior Security Analyst, I focus on protecting and defending our servers, systems, and information against external hackers,” he explains. “But, if we believe that there are employees trying to steal company information and sell it to other companies, I also have to investigate those suspicions and incidents. In the world of cybersecurity, it can be very exciting work.”


Teaching at John Jay
Today, Seo coaches John Jay cybersecurity graduate students. “I’m teaching the students about malware analysis. Throughout the course, we break down the behavior and purpose of suspicious files, programs, and software; we also reverse-engineer malicious programs to better understand them,” says Seo, who enjoys seeing his students grasp complex cybersecurity concepts. “When you’re a student at John Jay—especially in the cybersecurity world—one of the best things you can do is connect with different professionals in the field. I’m happy to be a part of their networks and hope to see their careers flourish in the future.”