UK defence scientists develop cyber card game to learn hackers’ tactics

News / UK defence scientists develop cyber card game to learn hackers’ tactics

Scientists at the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have come up with a cyber card game which, the scientists believe, will help IT staff at companies to “identify and learn about some of the key open source techniques a cyber aggressor might use to gain insight, access, and control over industrial and commercial infrastructures”.

Considering that today’s hackers use innovative techniques ranging from social engineering, domain-spoofing, malware intrusion, to encrypting malware to evade detection to infiltrate enterprise IT infrastructure, it is necessary for IT staff at enterprises remain a step ahead of hackers and deploy sufficient measures to predict and detect cyber attacks.

Simpler, quicker and more effective cyber defence training

The new cyber card game was developed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to make it easier for staff to learn tricks and techniques used by hackers to infiltrate IT networks. Following extensive testing and after gathering feedback from stakeholders, the institute noted that the game showed a very rapid initial learning curve compared to conventional training alone.

According to DSTL, the cyber card game provides a rapid upskilling in understanding open-source cyber-attack techniques, enhances learning on possible defensive strategies, and creates interest among participants who can continue playing in their own time.

The game can be curated and tailored to various scenarios to help companies of all sizes benefit from the approach as it can either be used for a rapid two-hour session for corporate management or for an extended campaign for cyber professionals. Since it avoids the use of classified information, participants will not require security clearance to play the game.

The cyber card game has been open-sourced, allowing companies of all sizes to develop Dstl’s work at no cost, thereby facilitating commercialisation of products. Companies can obtain the game for license on a non-exclusive basis and thanks to the Easy Access IP licensing framework created by DSTL, Coruscant Productions LLC is the first company to obtain a licence to develop the card game and market the training approach further.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to license such unique intellectual property from Dstl. The cyber card game fundamentally alters the way cyber is thought about, taught and employed.

“We’re proud to be chosen as the first licensee, and look forward to working with cyber training providers across the world with the goal of ensuring all organisations are better able to understand and defend against cyber criminals and digital attacks,” said Tomas Owen, founder of Coruscant Productions LLC.


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Jay has been a technology reporter for almost a decade. When not writing about cybersecurity, he writes about mobile technology for the likes of Indian Express, TechRadar India and Android Headlines


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