Fighting cyber crime with a computer game

Abertay University has developed a ‘serious game’ that can train very large numbers of criminal justice staff in basic techniques to deal efficiently with cyber crime.

The game was developed by Abertay Computer Games 4th year students Oliver Vaughan Smith, Thomas Mitchell and Erin Stevenson in partnership with Police Scotland and private company Droman Crime Solutions.

Playable on a tablet, smartphone or desktop computer, the prototype game allows users to enter and interact with a virtual environment where they have to make decisions about the application of legislation and police powers.

Learn about legal procedures

In the game, trainees have to move around a virtual apartment finding possible evidence and answering questions about legislation and legal procedures. The game teaches them how to recognise and secure different networked and isolated digital devices, securing vital evidence that could be lost if the device is not handled properly. Users also learn how to assess the need for more expert support and provide advice and help to victims.

And because it’s a computer game, it can be easily and quickly updated to reflect changes in technology, helping users to maintain their skills in an environment that can change in hours rather than years.

First responders to cyber crime

It is believed the game will be more efficient, in terms of both cost and time, than traditional training techniques and will provide real-time information on the current skills and capacity of an organisation.

Dr Iain Donald, lecturer in games production at Abertay, commented:  “We specifically designed this as a game-based solution to the challenge of training thousands of police personnel who might be the first responders to an incident of cyber crime by telephone or scene visit.”

“Currently, as evidenced by various inspection reports, UK criminal justice organisations experience significant difficulties in providing mainstream training to large numbers of their operational front-line staff.”