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Teaching NON Cyber Security Staff – How to handle a cyber-crisis?


As cyber-attacks against businesses are becoming more sophisticated and devastating. Executives and stakeholders are coming to the realization that strong defensive measures are becoming a necessity. Cyber security has come to form an essential part of the business protocol as leaders take on the challenge of bringing together different perspectives and teamwork to unite in cognizance of recognizing and combatting attacks.

Who said games can’t be edifying? Gamifying training is an excellent deviation from the standard, drill-like exercises and keeps employees enthusiastic about tasks. That can be otherwise stress-inducing or monotonous. It also helps to instill concepts better, with workers more likely to remember and recall ideas enforced through a cheerful medium. And one can never be too safe when it comes to online threats. You never know what an average keystroke logging software can be capable of.

Let’s play a game

Kaspersky Cyber Security Solutions, the same company that makes the popular Anti-Virus app. Just released a game that mimics a cyber-emergency scenario. The online game guides business executives and staff that aren’t experts in security, through a simulated cyber attack on the UN’s first committee, one of the six committees at the United Nations General Assembly. Players are then challenged with deducing the intended target and determining the types of attacks deployed and the source of the attacks. The beginning of the game keeps everything shrouded in a mystery that needs to be solved and players take turns to make decisions from what small amount of information they have available. Every player’s decisions, whether of positive or negative effect, are combined, giving players clues into accessible options and how choices made could affect one another.

Based on cards, each choice is weighed by time and money, both deficient throughout the game. Any option chosen by a player alters the outcome of a specific round. Unwise decisions will push a player further into a corner, and smarter ones strengthen a player’s status for the next round. Paths and branches of choices and outcomes to follow are diverse, making the game a distinctive experience for participants as they compete against one another for the lead.

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On your marks

At the beginning of each round. Players receive messages with hints but require critical and quick thinking to distinguish. Between real clues and what may be bait or distractions. For instance, after “news reports”, players will be given the option of either participating in security training. (a bit late for that) or, reproaching a group, allegedly responsible for the cyber security attack. This goes on, to reveal many specific paths that can be taken. Such as players asking for national IT support to help remedy the attack somehow.

Other options include calling emergency meetings to inform vital stakeholders and, launching an investigation to discover the perpetrators and type of attack. Players are also kept in reality checks with guidance on how to speak to the press and whether to give in to a ransomware demand or stand their ground.

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Kaspersky Interactive Protection Simulation (KIPS) game. A team-based training platform for business system experts. IT professionals and managers are the brains behind this innovative training.  As part of the Kaspersky Security Awareness program, KIPS can mimic ransomware. Advanced persistent threats (APTs), and other online threats in a wide assortment of situations and lines of work. Including a bank, basic corporations, power stations, logistic enterprises, and gas and oil companies.

Lessons to learn:

While this version of the game with the United Nations set up, was aim mostly at diplomatic staff and international representatives. Anyone in an executive or leadership position can benefit and help their organization also benefit from such simulations. While retorts to cyber-attacks and threats are, in part, technical in nature, it is coordination and cooperation in an organization. That helps deliver timely measures that may undo or inhibit the damage inflicted by such attacks. Effective communication between individual employees and leaders, undoubtedly, forms the backbone of prevention and defense in security strategy.

To elaborate, not only does each employee play a significant and different role in an organization. But knowing who to approach for what resource or information in the event of such a crisis is key, and such training practices place a strong emphasis on the matter. Clarification of each role and teamwork is imperative to a business’ readiness to fight cyber security threats.

Such games also highlight the significance of prevention as the best line of defense. Given the complicated nature of cyber threats and how difficult they can be to contain, once executed or spread. They also highlight the importance of team-based efforts and crowd-sourcing. And, indeed, they indeed protect you from all kinds of cyber menace. Including spyware that might do unthinkable things through mere keystroke logging software.

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