Using Facebook's Open Source Capture the Flag Platform as a Hands-on Learning and Assessment Tool for Cybersecurity Education

Using Facebook's Open Source Capture the Flag Platform as a Hands-on Learning and Assessment Tool for Cybersecurity Education

Rhonda Chicone (Purdue University Global, Chicago, USA), Tina Marie Burton (Purdue University Global, Chicago, USA) and Julie A. Huston (Kaplan University, Davenport, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJCSSA.2018010102

Abstract

There is a high demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals, however, entry-level employees and college graduates often lack the hands-on and real-world experience they need to be successful in the cybersecurity industry. This high demand has led educators to pursue innovative and smart application technologies as a way for students to gain hands-on skills and to practice those skills in a safe and fun environment. Cybergames are now being used by educational institutions and in private and public industry sectors. One popular game in the cybersecurity space is called Capture the Flag (CTF). This study investigates Facebook's CTF platform as a cost-effective learning and assessment tool for undergraduate and graduate cybersecurity adult students for an online university.
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Background

Computer security and cybersecurity practices in general have become critical for protecting users, applications and data; however, this field experiences tremendous shortages in regard to skilled and trained professionals. The typical methods of training including web-based classrooms, instructor-led training, newsletters, etc. are not engaging and take considerable time (Jordan, Knapp, Mitchell, Claypool & Fisler, 2011). Often most of these methods of training were found to be ineffective because the employees were not truly engaged in the training process. Employees are provided with a vast amount of information in a short period of time, which can be overwhelming and ineffective for learning. A more immersive and interactive method of teaching and learning seems to be required in the area of cybersecurity. One method to train all employees and organizational leaders is the use of gamification, which allows everyone to play the roles of various types of attackers. This method can enable employees to reduce the number of attacks that occur due to human susceptibility exploits (Adams & Makramalla, 2015).

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