Gamification of cybersecurity

Gamification of cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is an extremely important industry in today’s rapidly evolving technological world. So many businesses depend on internet-based services for a multitude of tasks, putting themselves at risk for myriad of malicious cyber attacks. Protection against these types of attacks is crucial, yet the cybersecurity field has a serious shortage of manpower–even the most talented in the field cannot keep up with the increasing number of data breaches. It is imperative that businesses begin to take these threats more seriously and educate their employees on how to be vigilant in the face of perpetually looming cyber attacks. This is where gamification of cybersecurity comes into the picture.

Gamification is becoming increasingly popular in a variety of industries such as healthcare, education, and marketing. Many businesses are finding innovative ways to use gamification to train employees, enhance performance, and increase motivation. Schools are beginning to discover the benefits of gamification in the classroom–the use of games and the possibility of exciting rewards helps students remain focused and interested in the lessons. These creative uses of gamification offer employees and students a more immersive, hands-on learning experience, and provide motivation to those who may find themselves feeling burned out by huge work loads and pressing deadlines. Creative use of gamification has led to other accomplishments, including advances in cybersecurity.

Gamification of cybersecurity training

Gamification of cybersecurity can help businesses improve cyber security in many ways, from teaching their employees how to avoid cyber attacks to discovering vulnerabilities in software. Game of Threats is software being used to educate executives by immersing them in real-world cyber security threat situations. This game increases players’ knowledge of security breaches by showing them both sides of a cyber attack, showing them first-hand how attackers choose their targets. Knowing what makes them vulnerable to an attack helps them further understand how to avoid it. Executives play as both the attacker and the defender, and the competition heats up when players invest in skills, tactics, talent, and tools.

Gamification of cybersecurity compliance

Human error is the culprit in most security breaches, and ineffective training is only partly to blame. Employees often feel pressured to meet deadlines and complete work as quickly as possible. This leads them to overlook important security measures. Most businesses will eventually identify and punish employees not complying with security rules, but gamification can present a more effective alternative–one that will motivate employees to follow security procedures. Digital Guardian, a security firm specializing in data loss prevention, has created Data Defender. Data Defender is a free gaming concept that rewards employees for conforming to proper security procedures. Employees rack up points which are tallied on a scoreboard for the entire office to follow. This gamification of cybersecurity results in real rewards (such as e-store gift cards) when employees reach specific milestones. The combination of rewards and a bit of competition motivates employees to prioritize cyber security.

Gamification of cybersecurity recruiting

As we mentioned earlier, there is a significant shortage of talented cyber security professionals. That gap is expected to continue rising over the next few years–and so will cyber threats. Gamification can help the industry fill this dangerous void of talented professionals. Cyber Security Challenge UK is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the industry find the security professionals it so desperately needs. This organization sets up yearly competitions featuring simulated cyber threat games in which anyone can compete. A gaming environment called CySphinx is used in the competition–it assesses specific abilities during gameplay, giving industry leaders an idea of each player’s technical, communication, and teamwork skills. Qualifying rounds take place online, but finals take place in person and winners are rewarded with prestigious job offers. This competition often draws out the most talented minds in cyber security.

Gamification of bug hunting

In addition to human error, problems with software are responsible for many data breaches. Bugs are often found once software is launched, even after comprehensive testing. Gamification can help businesses identify problems with software and find bugs before they cause a data breach. Bug bounty programs are being used by many tech giants to find these bugs before they cripple the company. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and even the Department of Defense have all embraced the bug bounty.

But the most interesting use of this technique comes from Uber, a ride-sharing transportation company. Uber provides researchers with a “treasure map” to make their way around the company’s platform and focus on vital areas. Uber keeps researchers motivated by rewarding loyalty (for those finding more than four bugs in a specific amount of time) and offering large prizes (up to $10,000 per bug).

Benefits from gamification of cybersecurity

Top-notch cybersecurity is an essential part of our world. Data breaches can bring a business to its knees in the blink of an eye. The continuously growing void of cyber security talent is a frightening scenario. Businesses need to continue to educate executives and employees about cyber security. But more importantly, they need to do so in a way that will motivate everyone to remain vigilant.

Gamification can engage everyone in the workplace by teaching lessons in a hands-on, fun way. Creating friendly competition among employees and offering rewards and prizes will motivate them to follow cyber security rules and procedures. In addition to enforcing current cybersecurity training in businesses, gamification can also help to find the brightest, most talented cybersecurity minds available to fill the void. Gamification can even be used to root out bugs in software, further protecting businesses from security breaches. Gamification can be used in many creative ways to protect against the ever-present cybersecurity threat.