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NOVA Labs Cybersecurity Lab

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The Cybersecurity Lab is a game designed to teach people how to keep their digital lives safe, spot cyber scams, learn the basics of coding, and defend against cyber attacks. Players assume the role of the chief technology officer of a start-up social network company that is the target of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. In the game, players must complete challenges to strengthen their cyber defenses and thwart their attackers. The Lab also features stories of real-world cyber attacks, a glossary of cyber terms, and short animated videos that explain the need for cybersecurity, privacy versus security, cryptography (cyber codes), and what exactly hackers are.

There are four major gameplay components of the Lab:

  • Coding Challenge: An introduction to very basic coding skills. Players program a robot to navigate a maze, using drag-and-drop commands. 
  • Password-Cracking Challenge: A series of “password duels” teach players the basics of how attackers might try to crack their passwords and how they can make better, more secure passwords.
  • Social Engineering Challenge: Players are presented with two apparently similar emails or websites. They must first identify the differences between them and then decide which one is a scam attempting to steal their information or money. This challenge also includes a number of audio recordings and transcripts of phone calls; players have to decide if they should trust the caller or not. 
  • Network Attacks: As their companies grow, players must buy defenses to defend themselves against a series of cyber attacks. The better that players do in the three challenges, the more resources they’ll have to buy defenses.

Note: The Coding Challenge uses a Blockly interface that requires no prior knowledge of coding. Blockly uses a visual representation of code as blocks rather than a scripted programming language.

 

Time Allotment

75 minutes
 

Grade Level

Grade 6-12


More Information
Cybersecurity Lab Guide for Educators