Game on: UNSW team develops cyber security education app

A team from across UNSW has used a 1980s retro-style arcade game to develop an app that educates students about cyber security.

gameplay_5.png

A.L.I.C.E. has been developed to educate students and staff about cyber security.

UNSW Sydney students, employees and alumni have collaborated to develop an app designed to educate people about cyber security.

A.L.I.C.E. (Artificial Learning Intelligence for Centralised Education) uses a 1980s retro-style arcade theme to take players through a range of cyber security scenarios with the aim of recovering their stolen identity. Along the way they navigate “the network”, using their wits to outsmart evil viruses, beat attacking malware and ward off phishing attacks on their social media accounts. Players are assisted by an artificial intelligence system built for centralised education.

Kamer Nizamdeen, a UNSW IT Business Analyst and game development analyst, said the app was developed and produced to raise awareness of the most common cyber security threats to UNSW students.

"Cyber security is a current hot topic. As we spend more and more time online, our digital footprint and online presence relate directly to our personal identity. If it’s not carefully protected we can be left vulnerable and open to theft," Nizamdeen said.

design_prod_dev_team.jpg

The A.L.I.C.E. production team: Standing left to right: Naimul Khaled, Jack Condon, Brendan Sullivan, Joel Flannagan, Reuben Moorhouse, Christopher Panzetta, Ragnhild Jessen, Mitchell Shelton, Kamer Nizamdeen, Lachlan Jones and Jacqueline Beston. Front, left to right: Jamie Rollo, Tunpitcha Ladapornvitaya and Carlo Bruzzese. Photo: Supplied

Jacqueline Beston, Executive Producer, explained that the program is based on gamification theory, which brings game design elements and principles to learning situations – encouraging players to have fun while learning.

"The challenge was to create an awareness campaign among our student population that would be palatable, highlighting ways to protect themselves online and providing key messages that can be quickly consumed," she said. "We also wanted our students to think – ‘Wow, I can’t believe my uni built this!'."

The app development team hails from across the UNSW community and includes students with backgrounds in Computer Science and Information Systems drawn from the UNSW Heroes Program, staff from UNSW IT, and alumni working with vendor partner S1T2.

"We went from a small room in the Scientia Gallery on campus to a creative design studio in Surry Hills where the story, characters and gameplay were further fleshed out,"  said Lachlan Jones, Cyber Analyst and current UNSW student. "The app has been developed on the Unity platform which our student team had the opportunity to experiment with."

A.L.I.C.E. was released on 13 November and is available for free download via the Play Store (Google) and the App Store (Apple). Further enhancements will be made before the app is launched for O Week on 19 February 2018.

Contact Jacqueline Beston for more information.