UTSA Releases Computer Games--to Teach Cyber Security

What better way to teach teenagers the critical skill of computer security..than through computer games?

Most teenagers have been playing computer games since they were toddlers, and Josef Klein, project lead for the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security at UTSA, helped design three games for students from middle school up to college age, where the villians are not  mobs, diablos, or reapers of souls, but are hackers, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"The game puts them into a precarious situation, where they have to defend their network against a series of attacks," Klein said.

"Learning by doing, learning from hands-on activities, learning from play and interaction, I think it is all very effective."

The games are available on line, and Klein says non geeks can also learn some very important skills on protecting themselves from cyber crime by playing them.

"Everybody is vulnerable to low tech attacks like phishing, they work because people ask the right questions, and people divulge information that they shouldn't," he said.

He says the various levels within the games teach students to identify what type of code is being used and then how to decode that message through an interactive platform.

And the games, he says, are also geared toward younger teens, to let them try their hand at being a cyber warrior to see if they have what it takes.

"We actually have these games targeted toward middle school and high school students," he said.  "We want to inspire them to learn about this type of security, learn about computer science, learn about STEM in general."

He says if the computer games don't convince a teen to go into the rapidly growing field of cyber security, they may prompt them to take up some other STEM field, like science or engineering.

And, the games are also being beta tested, if you can come up with a way to make them better!

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