A game that could improve global cybersecurity

by Black Hat Middle East and Africa
A game that could improve global cybersecurity

Welcome to the new 773 cyber warriors who joined us last week. 🥳 Each week, we'll be sharing insights from the Black Hat MEA community. Read exclusive interviews with industry experts and key findings from the #BHMEA23 keynote stage.

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This week we’re focused on… 📣

How getting people around the world involved in playing a game could improve global cybersecurity resilience – by bringing in more talent. 

A passing comment got us thinking… 🤔

During a panel discussion at Black Hat MEA 2022, Mari Galloway (Founder and CEO at Cyberjutsu) made a brief comment about Wicked6

She said: 

“Wicked6 is a huge event when women across the world come together for 24 hours and they play cyber games. Cybergames are a really good way to learn about cybersecurity and get exposure to the industry, plus other people in the same space.” 

Could a game help to change the cybersecurity industry? 🎮

Wicked6 is a virtual cybergame (it’s next happening in March 2024) that you can attend from anywhere in the world, via Discord. 

(and by the way, this email is not sponsored; we’re just talking about it because we think it’s great). 

Participants build cybersecurity skills – and community – through live simulated cyber attack training. For 24 hours, women get together to play, to engage in an ongoing conversation about cybersecurity, and to compete in teams of five for the opportunity to reach the tournament’s final round. 

It’s open to people who are completely new to cyber games as well as experienced cybersecurity professionals – and everyone has the chance to win prizes, network, and learn new skills. 

To sum up: it’s fun, and you also learn a lot. 

And the combination of those two things can empower more women to access cybersecurity knowledge and explore their own potential as cybersecurity professionals. Which is important, because although numbers are improving, women held only 25% of global cybersecurity jobs in 2022 (up from 20% in 2019, and about 10% in 2013). 

Hack, chat, learn 📝

Although it includes various different competitive games, Wicked6 has a strong sense of community. Participants get to hack, chat, and learn. And it’s co-hosted by Galloway’s nonprofit, The Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu, which exists to advance women and girls in the cybersecurity industry – through training, mentoring, events, and thought leadership. 

Individually, Galloway urged cybersecurity leaders to engage in work that enables access to education and opportunities for young people who might not otherwise discover their potential in the industry. She touched on things like “going to schools, talking about cybersecurity, about having a cybersecurity mindset. Being vigilant about what you’re doing and how you’re doing things is super important.”

And “participating in events like Wicked6, global cyber games – participating in stuff that you typically wouldn’t participate in.” 

Because when experienced cybersecurity professionals get involved in games like Wicked6, they have an opportunity to inspire others; to network with new talent; and to identify areas where training and mentorship could be truly valuable. 

“So having these kinds of events, these kinds of opportunities for the younger generation to come in and understand what cybersecurity is and how they can be involved…is really important,” Galloway added. 

The stats show that cybergames have a growing potential to make an impact 📈

Data from Wicked6 shows that:

  • The 2022 edition had 1007 registered participants – and that went up to 1304 in 2023.
  • Languages spoken by participants in 2023 included Arabic, English, Spanish, French, and Hindi – across at least 29 participating countries. 

As games like this continue to grow, they can bring in more future cyber experts – in a low-pressure, high-engagement way. Cybergames have the potential to show women and other diverse talent that cybersecurity is the industry for them. 

Do you have an idea for a topic you'd like us to cover? We're eager to hear it! Drop us a message and share your thoughts. Our next newsletter is scheduled for 29 November 2023.

Catch you next week,
Steve Durning
Exhibition Director

P.S. - Mark your calendars for the return of Black Hat MEA from 📅 05 - 07 November 2024. Want to be a part of the action?

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