How To Beat Cyber Attackers By Playing Games

Scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have developed a cyber card game which helps staff identify and learn about some of the key open source techniques a cyber aggressor might use to gain insight, access and control over industrial and commercial infrastructures.

Extensive testing of the game and positive stakeholder feedback has shown a very rapid initial learning curve compared to conventional training alone and this contributed to the game winning the 2018 Dstl ‘Innovator of the Year’ award.

The UK government and commercial sectors face a growing challenge in the form of cyber-attacks and information warfare from criminals and state actors. Such attacks take various forms and are often very sophisticated, meaning they may go unnoticed. Training staff to recognise and counter common information warfare attack strategies can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive

The key benefits of Dstl’s cyber card game are that it:

  • Provides a rapid upskilling in understanding high level, open-source cyber-attack techniques and enhances learning on possible defensive strategies
  • Offers a more enjoyable approach to cyber training – staff have the option to continue playing in their own time
  • Is adaptable across a range of audiences and knowledge levels- the game can be tailored to various scenarios, ranging from a rapid two hour session for corporate management through to an extended campaign for cyber professionals
  • Avoids using classified information, and therefore does not need security clearance to play

The cyber card game is available for license on a non-exclusive basis through Dstl’s Easy Access IP (EAIP) licencing framework. The EAIP framework allows companies to develop Dstl’s work at no cost, facilitating commercialisation of products that will benefit the economy and society.

Dstl has signed their first cyber card game licencing agreement with Coruscant Productions LLC who plan to develop and market the cyber card game training approach further.

The lead scientist who developed the game at Dstl said:

It is exciting to see the cyber card game being developed externally for the benefit of both security and commercial environments.

Tomas Owen, founder of Coruscant Productions added:

We are delighted to have the opportunity to license such unique intellectual property from Dstl. The cyber card game fundamentally alters the way cyber is thought about, taught and employed.

We’re proud to be chosen as the first licensee, and look forward to working with cyber training providers across the world with the goal of ensuring all organisations are better able to understand and defend against cyber criminals and digital attacks.

For more information, visit Dstl’s Easy Access IP page



Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He also has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.

Duncan Newell

Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He also has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.

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