CypherCon 2024

Cybersecurity Training from the Sofa: A Networked, 3D, First-person Cybersecurity Simulation with Artificial Intelligence For Cybersecurity Training and Education

Dr. Tyler W Thomas


In this presentation, we will talk about the current state of gamification for training and education as it specifically applies to cybersecurity. We will discuss existing commercial techniques and platforms, as well as current research on the effectiveness of various gaming paradigms and lessons learned through studies. Finally, I will present my current work: A working, networked, 3D, first-person cybersecurity simulation with artificial intelligence. Participants at the talk will engage in this networked simulation together or on their own, while I discuss the tool and current findings through its use in research.

Importance: I’m writing this talk because gamification of cybersecurity for training and education is very important. There are two main reasons for this. First, there is a well-known shortage of cyber security experts. Second, learning cyber security is hard. Old methods of powerpoints and drawing on the board just don’t cut it in today’s fast paced, ever changing landscape. Gamification offer’s a solution, but to what end. I want to explore in just what ways it helps in cybersecurity training and education, and in what ways it may not. Lastly, an entire audience being able to engage in a networked, 3D, first-person cybersecurity simulation with artificial intelligence is just plain cool. I believe it will attract a large audience. They will learn a lot about gamification in cybersecurity training, and they will be entertained simultaneously.

Dr. Tyler W Thomas

Access Control Doctor

Dr. Tyler W Thomas is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He has taught cybersecurity coursework and performed cybersecurity research for many years. His work has been published multiple times in leading research conferences such as the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human Centric Computing (VL HCC), ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), and ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies (SACMAT). Dr. Tyler Thomas’s research focuses on the intersection of cybersecurity, software engineering, and human-computer-interfaces. Past projects include the development of novel tools and techniques for the detection and remediation of security vulnerabilities during software development, harnessing of usable human-input mechanisms to power machine detected, application-specific vulnerabilities in software (such as access control vulnerabilities), and the leveraging of these tools to ethically discover, report, and patch zero-day vulnerabilities in open source software systems. His work has also identified, and examined a lifecycle of vulnerabilities across small, medium, and large companies and government institutions. Finally he has developed and evaluated novel, usable security code review systems and procedures based on existing research and the needs of security experts in various roles within small, medium, and large organizations.