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In interacting with any secure environment, the user is the weakest link in security. SecurityEmpire is a new interactive multiplayer computer game targeted towards high school students to teach Information Assurance (IA) concepts to users, without making assumptions regarding the user’s prior security experience. The game challenges users to build green energy systems (e.g., solar, geothermal, wind) while engaging in sound IA practices and avoiding security missteps.

The project addresses two threats to cyber safety: users act without thinking about the consequences of their actions, and users lack awareness of basic IA concepts. This project contributes to the DHS cyber initiative “Stop. Think. Connect.”.

In contrast with traditional teaching methods, educational games hold promise for greater student engagement and learning. Computer games offer a better chance than do board and card games to engage students who have access to computers because such students spend many more hours playing computer games and computer games can be copied and distributed more cheaply and efficiently.

The game will be fielded and tested in at Meade Senior High School (MHS) in Anne Arundel County as a stand-alone web game accessible via CISA servers. A second version is being developed as a Facebook application. Students will test the game, provide feedback, and suggest improvements to the game.

This work is jointly lead by Alan T. Sherman (CISA), Marc Olano (Game Development Track), and Linda Oliva (Dept. of Education) supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

CISA members that work on this project include Alan T. Sherman and Oliver Kubik.