A Million Hit Points and Infinite Charisma: How Games Can Fix Computer Security Education

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 2:00pm–2:30pm

Zachary Peterson, Assistant Professor, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo


Year after year, we see reports on an ever increasing gap, both in the public and private sectors, between the number of computer security professional we need and the number we expect to produce. While the reasons for this trend are varied and systemic, there is a perception, particularly among those new to computing, that security can be asocial and isolating, that it is void of creativity and individual expression, and lacks positive social relevance. But, as we all know, security can inherently have all of these qualities, which perhaps manifest themselves most clearly in cybersecurity games. Indeed, the freedoms of play inherent in games may directly address the qualities deficient in security pedagogy, with many educators now turning to security games, in and out of the classroom, as a meaningful tool for outreach and education. In this talk, we take a critical look at the use of games in cybersecurity education, and explore some of the ways games can (and cannot) fix computer security education.

Zachary Peterson, Assistant Professor, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Zachary Peterson is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He has a passion for creating new ways of engaging students of all ages in computer security, especially through the use of games and play. He has co-created numerous non-digital security games, including [d0x3d!], a network security board game, and is the founder of 3GSE, a USENIX workshop dedicated to the use of games for security education.

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@conference {206278,
author = {Zachary Peterson},
title = {A Million Hit Points and Infinite Charisma: How Games Can Fix Computer Security Education},
year = {2016},
address = {San Francisco, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jan

Presentation Video