Conference Paper

PROTECT - An Easy Configurable Serious Game to Train Employees Against Social Engineering Attacks

Authors:
  • Continental Automotive Technologies GmbH
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Abstract

Social engineering is the clever manipulation of human trust. While most security protection focuses on technical aspects, organisations remain vulnerable to social engineers. Approaches employed in social engineering do not differ significantly from the ones used in common fraud. This implies defence mechanisms against the fraud are useful to prevent social engineering, as well. We tackle this problem using and enhancing an existing online serious game to train employees to use defence mechanisms of social psychology. The game has shown promising tendencies towards raising awareness for social engineering in an entertaining way. Training is highly effective when it is adapted to the players context. Our contribution focuses on enhancing the game with highly configurable game settings and content to allow the adaption to the player's context as well as the integration into training platforms. We discuss the resulting game with practitioners in the field of security awareness to gather some qualitative feedback.

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... However, only the initial, most relevant study from a given author or group of authors was chosen to keep the selection concise. Haferkamp, 2011;Almeida et al., 2017Anti-terrorism Training Bruzzone, 2009Sormani, 2016 Engineering and Information Systems Vermillion et al., 2017;Kwak et al., 2019Military Garris et al., 2002Zyda, 2005;Yildirim, 2010Policing BinSubaih, 2005Bosse & Gerritsen, 2017;Sorace et al., 2018;Akhgar et al., 2019Cybersecurity Sheng et al., 2007Cone et al., 2007;Newbould & Furnell, 2009;Arachchilage, 2013;Denning et al., 2013;Olanrewaju & Zakaria, 2015;Hendrix & Sherbaz, 2016;Beckers & Pape, 2016;Aladawy et al., 2018;Chothia et al., 2018;Frey et al., 2018;Goeke et al., 2019;Hart et al., 2020 ...
... A disadvantage of this offline tabletop approach is its scalability. Aladawy et al. (2018) and Goeke et al. (2019) developed an online version of the game and changed the player perspective from being a social engineer to being a SEA defender to train players' resistance against persuasion. Being put into a defending position correlates better with real-world scenarios (generally, most people would rather face situations where they must defend against SEAs than be an attacker themselves). ...
... However, there have been studies outside criminology that used a similar approach. Beckers and Pape (2016) performed experiments to test the effectiveness of an SG approach for SE awareness creation and further developed the approach to create an online version of the game (Aladawy et al., 2018;Goeke et al., 2019). The initial approach, however, was not further evaluated for improvement potentials. ...
Article
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Social engineering is a method used by offenders to deceive their targets utilizing rationales of human psychology. Offenders aim to exploit information and use them for intelligence purposes or financial gains. Generating resilience against these malicious methods is still challenging. Literature shows that serious gaming learning approaches are used more frequently to instill lasting retention effects. Serious games are interactive, experiential learning approaches that impart knowledge about rationales and concepts in a way that fosters retention. In three samples and totally 97 participants the study at hand evaluated a social engineering serious game for participants' involvement and instruction compliance during the game. Field observations and unstructured interviews were used to collect data on participants' engagement, satisfaction and compliance with game master instructions. The findings show that there are potentials in changing the game material and its process to foster these dimensions and make it more useful as an instructional instrument for social engineering awareness creation.
... : Relation [149] of HATCH [148], PROTECT [151], and the CyberSecurity Awareness Quiz [150] . ...
... HATCH is the first in a cascade of three serious games [149], each with a different purpose as shown in Figure 5 [150]. However, since PROTECT [151] and the CyberSecurity Awareness Quiz [150] are both single-player games, HATCH is the obvious candidate for a legal and ethical assessment. Due to its multiplayer character and when eliciting threats with real scenarios, care has to be taken that no personal data of the players or other employees of the organization are at risk, or some of the players start bullying others. ...
... Due to its multiplayer character and when eliciting threats with real scenarios, care has to be taken that no personal data of the players or other employees of the organization are at risk, or some of the players start bullying others. Figure 5: Relation [149] of HATCH [148], PROTECT [151], and the CyberSecurity Awareness Quiz [150] When playing HATCH with a realistic scenario, the employees' personal information might be at risk if players use it to describe their attacks. Legal requirements demand a careful consideration of conditions the game can be used in. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This report proposes a conceptual framework for the monitoring and evaluation of a cybersecurity awareness (CSA) program. In order to do so, it uses a nonsystematic or purposive literature review. Initially, it reviewed nine existing frameworks/models on CSA mainly to derive the skeleton (phases and sub-phases) of the framework. This is followed by a set of guidelines and practical advice in each phase and sub-phases of the framework that would be useful for the enhancement of a CSA program. The guidelines and advice on "what to do in each phase" as well as "what to expect in each phase" will be useful for CSA professionals, individuals, or organizations who intend to design a CSA program. In addition to this, the report also presents the evaluation criteria of two CSA mechanisms, which are posters and serious games.
... THREAT-ARREST combines all modern training aspects of serious gaming [25,26], emulation and simulation in a concrete manner [27], and offers continuous security assurance and programme adaptation based on the trainee's performance and skills ( Table 1). The platform [24] offers training on known and/or new advanced cyber-attack scenarios, taking different types of action against them, including: preparedness, detection and analysis, incident response, and post incident response actions. ...
... With this Tool, we can: (i) export the system's security vulnerabilities and threats, (ii) conduct a risk analysis to identify the most significant of them, and (iii) perform statistical analysis on the various system log-files in order to produce realistic synthetic logs (i.e., with the platform's Data Fabrication Tool). Afterwards, these logs are utilized by the CTTP models and can be processed by the Gamification, Emulation, and/or Simulation Tools [25][26][27]. ...
... The overall accomplishments of the trainee disclose his/her level of understanding concerning the tampering and spoofing perspectives of social engineering attacks and the usage of the relevant countermeasures that would assure integrity and authentication, respectively. The basic training involves the Training and the Gamification Tools [25]. The trainees are registered and we compound their training sessions. ...
Article
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Nowadays, more-and-more cyber-security training is emerging as an essential process for the lifelong personnel education in organizations, especially for those which operate critical infrastructures. This is due to security breaches on popular services that become publicly known and raise people’s security awareness. Except from large organizations, small-to-medium enterprises and individuals need to keep their knowledge on the related topics up-to-date as a means to protect their business operation or to obtain professional skills. Therefore, the potential target-group may range from simple users, who require basic knowledge on the current threat landscape and how to operate the related defense mechanisms, to security experts, who require hands-on experience in responding to security incidents. This high diversity makes training and certification quite a challenging task. This study combines pedagogical practices and cyber-security modelling in an attempt to support dynamically adaptive training procedures. The training programme is initially tailored to the trainee’s needs, promoting the continuous adaptation to his/her performance afterwards. As the trainee accomplishes the basic evaluation tasks, the assessment starts involving more advanced features that demand a higher level of understanding. The overall method is integrated in a modern cyber-ranges platform, and a pilot training programme for smart shipping employees is presented.
... The game is designed to provide knowledge and train people through social psychology theories on resistance to persuasion. This game is further enhanced to contain more content and to accommodate contexts Goeke et al. [2019]. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Social engineering attacks are a major cyber threat because they often serve as a first step for an attacker to break into an otherwise well-defended network, steal victims' credentials, and cause financial losses. The problem has received due amount of attention with many publications proposing defenses against them. Despite this, the situation has not improved. In this SoK paper, we aim to understand and explain this phenomenon by looking into the root cause of the problem. To this end, we examine the literature on attacks and defenses through a unique lens we propose -- {\em psychological factors (PFs) and techniques (PTs)}. We find that there is a big discrepancy between attacks and defenses: Attacks have deliberately exploited PFs by leveraging PTs, but defenses rarely take either of these into consideration, preferring technical solutions. This explains why existing defenses have achieved limited success. This prompts us to propose a roadmap for a more systematic approach towards designing effective defenses against social engineering attacks.
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