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A Million Hit Points And Infinite Charisma: How Games Can Fix Computer Security Education

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Year after year, we see reports on an ever increasing gap, both in the public and private sectors, between the number of computer security professional we need and the number we expect to produce. While the reasons for this trend are varied and systemic, there is a perception, particularly among those new to computing, that security can be asocial and isolating, that it is void of creativity and individual expression, and lacks positive social relevance. But, as we all know, security can inherently have all of these qualities, which perhaps manifest themselves most clearly in cybersecurity games. Indeed, the freedoms of play inherent in games may directly address the qualities deficient in security pedagogy, with many educators now turning to security games, in and out of the classroom, as a meaningful tool for outreach and education. In this talk, we take a critical look at the use of games in cybersecurity education, and explore some of the ways games can (and cannot) fix computer security education.