“Game On” at the RSA Conference 2020

The all-things-digital-security RSA Conference 2020 (RSAC 2020), taking place on February 24-28, 2020 in San Francisco, continues to bring game mechanics into the discussion about information security. Why? As a form of simulation and engagement, to educate consumers, to make STEM topics (like infosec) more attractive to potential talent who might want to consider information security as a profession, and to further train and refine professionals in the fast-growing, digital security space.

It doesn’t take much effort to find content in and around the application of game mechanics in information security at (and off-site during) the RSA show. Many vendors address account, identity authentification, and data security that are of direct or indirect interest to gamers and (especially) game developers and publishers. But, let’s peruse some of the talks and events in and around RSAC 2020 gamers and infosec pros might be interested in.

chess player making a move

Chess is a serious game — and sometimes so is information security
(Photo by Carlos Esteves on Unsplash)


Talks at RSA Conference 2020

Cybersecurity through Serious Games

In this lab exercise, participants will be taught how to deal with serious threats in the enterprise, with strategy and immersion, applying a “serious game format.” Seeing how game mechanics might be applied through this immersive scenario could be interesting, who might attend to get hands-on experience, and seeing what the conditions for “winning” might be.

Identity War Games: A Learning Lab on Account Opening Fraud

Creating a “war game,” — a competitive game-like environment environment with teams competing for an objective, is the vehicle for this identify verification-oriented session . Understanding identity verification principles is a prerequisite before attending this session.

Enterprise Incident Management: How to Get Everyone Ready for a Crisis

Hands-on games, or interactive scenarios, are not the centerpiece for this session. However, the speaker, Erin Becker, a director at Target, will discuss war games and table-top scenarios the company has explored to help build their enterprise incident management program.

Since Target, a retail giant, was hit by one of the worst customer breaches of the last decade, with 40 million customer accounts exposed in 2013, the steps the company took (including the use of game mechanics) to strengthen their ability to handle a cyber-response program could be very interesting to some security practitioners.

Cyber Games Summit

Taking place on the morning of February 26th in downtown San Francisco, the Cyber Games Summit (courtesy of the growth-hacking agency, Katzcy) is a panel-oriented event that directly intersects the value between competitive gaming and esports — through more serious cybergames — with digital security. Last summer, Katzcy helped organize the Wicked6 Cyber Games tournament, so this team come from a place of experience around this topic.

Aside from breakfast and networking, the centerpiece of the event is a panel including discussions from business, education, public-private partnerships, and more voices interested in games and security.

While sponsorship for the event is now closed, free attendance for the Cyber Games Summit remains open at the time of the publication.

Unisys

Pennsylvania-based information technology company, Unisys, is hosting a “Stealth Capture the Flag Challenge” hackathon during two sessions on-site at the conference venue on February 26th.

Hackathons, which are collaborative design and development events designed to solve a challenge or reach a specific objective. In this case, the Unisys hackathon challenges participants to compromise Unisys’ Stealth security solutions environment and capture the correct codes (flags), with a chance to win up to $10,000, attend an exclusive top-notch reception and share your experiences with Unisys executives. This sort of challenge won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s bound to be folks with pen-testing skill and gamer-level competitiveness and problem-solving, who will be all in for this challenge.

Summary

The RSA Conference 2020 takes place in San Francisco from February 24-28. All the talks mentioned are for conference pass (not free expo pass) holders, while the other two events in and around RSAC 2020 are free to participate in.

Free expo passes are available, which offers attendees access to the show floor, sponsored sessions, and off-site networking activities. Paid pass options are available for more in-depth and broader learning and networking opportunities.