X - Hacker

Business / Non-Profit Category

By Trideum

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Description: You have been recruited into the underground world of hacking. Choose your hacker name carefully, in case the small-time hacks that get you started lead to political and military disruptions that land you on the cover of Wired magazine. With X-Hacker anyone can learn how to be stealthy, discover vulnerabilities, and exploit digital systems. Only the patient and highly skilled will manage to penetrate fully secured networks with dynamically improving cyber defenses. Start with simple, open-source tools deployed against businesses without firewalls, and eventually build your own payloads, customized to targets you discover after careful intel gathering. The X-Hacker digital board game style experience allows you to assume the role of your adversary. It’s strategic fun that teaches you basic cyber terminology and conceptual models. The experiments with hacking workflows will ultimately improve defensive strategies on your real-world networks or hone skills for white hat or ethical hacker cyber attacks.

Skills and Ideas Taught: The game introduces cyber terminology to users in context and with purpose. It gives users practice in finding vulnerabilities such as unpatched or outdated platforms. Most importantly, it teaches you to think from a different perspective, to imagine the motivations, goals and methods of actual hackers, so that you better understand how to take preventative measures in protecting your own digital information.

Goal or Challenge: For level one, the challenge is to connect to a target network, discover what devices and files are there and which are vulnerable, andthen exploit those vulnerabilities. The game goal is a a successful hack under time pressure. The real educational goal is to inadvertently learn terminology and what you can do to protect your own devices and networks. In future advanced levels we have planned but not yet implemented, users such as military cyber forces, can learn tactics and strategy for their own ethical hacks.

Primary Audience: We primarily consider DoD employees in need of basic cyber security training. But we think commercial businesses would have self-interest in training their employees to be aware of cyber threats as well. Our play testing did include 12 year olds to gauge usability and engagement, but our primary audience are adults employed at a business that have a network.

Assessment Approach: Primarily a player must complete hacking goals in order to advance to the next level. Within levels the game measures time on task as an indicator of expertise, and it is built on a framework we can use to collect a variety of metrics, including the clicks/path taken that can be compared to an optimal hacking path. As well it can measure time more meaningfully, such as time a player remained stealthy, or time it takes to exploit once risking exposure.

Game Engine: React (Web Framework)

Operating System: Web, Windows 10

Platform: PC

Special Hardware: None