London (UK), February 2017 - Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) training specialists Eukleia and learning-game experts Preloaded have developed a new training game to engage learners in the fight against cyber-attacks. Zero Threat goes beyond raising awareness to focus on achieving real behavioural change - and was developed in response to the rapidly growing problem of cyber-crime.
The average cost to a business impacted by a cyber-crime attack has risen by 200% in the past five years. The number of ransomware attacks - in which criminals hack systems shut them down and demand payment to restore them - quadrupled in 2016, with an average of 4,000 attacks per day. Cyber-attacks in 2016 cost Bangladesh Bank $81 million, breached the accounts of 9,000 Tesco Bank customers, and stole data from a billion Yahoo users. And while the immediate cost of fixing the issues is already high, an even greater cost can ensue from the reputational damage that leads to customers questioning the security of their data or their savings.
The problem is vast, global, and growing
Hackers look for the weakest link in an organisation's defences, and as businesses ramp up their IT security, this increasingly means targeting their people. Technology can be circumvented by tricking employees into downloading malware or giving out sensitive information.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK National Cyber Security Centre, and the FBI have all noted that many cyber-attacks are not necessarily sophisticated. In a speech on the FCA's approach to cyber-security, Nausicaa Delfas, then Director of Specialist Supervision, said, "Cyber is not just an IT issue ... Most attacks you have read about were caused by basic failings - you can trace the majority back to poor perimeter defences, unpatched, or end-of-life systems, or just a plain lack of security awareness within an organisation. So we strongly encourage firms to evolve and instil within them a holistic 'security culture', covering not just technology, but people and processes too."
Zero Threat is designed to address this need, bringing the battle against cyber-crime to life for employees and engaging them emotionally.
Learners are placed in control of a network made up of both technology and people, full of valuable data that the learner has to protect from a relentless onslaught of cyber-threats. These threats are based on real cyber-criminal tactics like social engineering and phishing. To stop them, the learner must "play" countermeasures, and these, too, are closely based on the security measures employees need to be taking in real life.
Every action players can take in the game is associated with cyber-security good practice, and when threats hit, visual effects provide instant feedback. By integrating gameplay and learning, Zero Threat is able to keep learners playing and help them build good cyber-security habits that are directly applicable in a day-to-day work environment.
The Zero Threat game has been previewed at this year's Learning Technologies show in London and with leading clients in the UK and the US, where it has been very well-received.