It’s all just a game of cat and mouse
The UK Ministry of Defence has seen a substantial rise in the number of applications to join the reserve forces as cyber security specialists after they targeted video gamers.
“The hunt for gamers and amateur coders to become cyber Reserves has led to a massive increase in applications”, the MoD said.
Among the tools it’s using to recruit is Cyber Security Challenge UK, a series of national competitions that gamify cyber security skill set challenges, with the aim to draw in amateur coders and video gamers to the cyber security profession.
A new round of challenges has been announced which give gamers the opportunity to try their hand at four online games that will test their analytical and decoding skills.
If a player receives high marks in the online portion of the challenge they will then progress to a face to face challenge in August, where potential careers in the profession are up for grabs.
Speaking to Computer Business Review Steve Morgan, founder of Cybersecurity Ventures told us: “Gamers have a propensity for cat-and-mouse play, which is a common character trait in cyber-security professionals.”
“Cyber defence, in many ways, is a game. It’s a very serious game of black hats (bad hackers) vs. white hats (good hackers),” he told us.
“What gamer wouldn’t want to step into the real world of cyber and sit in a real world SOC (security operations centre) where they can look at a real-time cyber threat map with red lights and intruders attempting to break in?,” he added.
Capture the Flag (CTF) games are one way cyber security skills are being tested. CTF is a hacking competition where different teams of hackers are competitive against each other to defend and attack networks and computers using specified software and techniques.
CEO’s Should Look To Games
In a survey by PwC Cyber threats ranked as one of the highest concerns for CEOs; when surveyed 40 percent ranked it as the highest threat to the company. Some 38 percent said the the availability of key skills was an extreme concern.
Steve Morgan said: “Hiring organisations and managers would be smart to frame their entry level cyber positions in a way that appeals to gamers. Cyber is serious business, but it can also be fun – and by portraying it that way the gamers will want in.”
The MoD isn’t the only one taking such an approach.
As recently reported by Computer Business Review, UK startup Immersive Labs – founded and is run by GCHQ veteran James Hadley – also provides a gamified virtual learning platform to help employees develop countermeasures against attackers and improve cyber skills. It recently won a major deal with Goldman Sachs.